PREM PREVIEW | Currie Chieftains aim to topple Heriot’s in Edinburgh derby
Currie Chieftains will welcome Heriot’s to Malleny Park this Saturday (12 January, kick-off 2.30pm) in a crucial Edinburgh derby.
With both teams vying for a top four spot, it is anticipated to be a keenly contested fixture as Heriot’s currently sit in third place with only two league points separating the two teams.
Currie Chieftains make several changes to the encounter, as Mike Vernel and Joe Reynolds return to the pack while Kiran McDonald and Tevita Tameilau are released by Glasgow Warriors to join the squad.
The hosts are also bolstered with the inclusion of Edinburgh Rugby scrum-half, Charlie Shiel, who made his debut for the professional side last weekend against Southern Kings at BT Murrayfield.
Currie Chieftains Head Coach, Mark Cairns, said: “January is a massive month for the club if we are to achieve our goal of reaching the play-offs for a fifth consecutive season.
“With two games on the road to come against Watsonians and Melrose, it is vital we get a win at Malleny against a really strong Heriot’s team.
“We have had some fantastic contests against Heriot’s in recent seasons and I am sure this one is going to be no different, and will probably come right down to the final whistle.”
Heriot’s Head Coach, Phil Smith, has opted for a fairly settled squad this weekend with Struan Dewar returning to the fold following an injury earlier this season.
The visitors enjoyed a period of impressive victories before the winter break and are eager to keep the winning momentum going.
Smith said: “It looks like we are playing a Chieftains side full of confidence. This means we must quickly get back into our stride and not use the winter break as an excuse not to perform to the levels we were at pre-Christmas.
“With not one of the top 4 positions yet secure, all sides involved are aware of a slip up at this stage of the season being very costly.
“This should see a highly charged affair with both teams giving their all to secure the win.”
Elsewhere, Edinburgh Accies welcome Hawick to Raeburn Place while Boroughmuir travel to Millbrae to face Ayr.
Watsonians will be trying to keep their play-off ambitions alive as they go head-to-head with Glasgow Hawks at Myreside and Stirling County take on Melrose at Bridgehaugh.
Currie Chieftains v Heriot’s, Malleny Park, 2.30pm
Currie Chieftains: Jamie Forbes; Ben Robbins, Joe Reynolds, Robbie Nelson (co-captain), Steven Hamilton; Gregor Hunter, Charlie Shiel; AP McWilliam, Fergus Scott (co-captain), Matias Sonzogni Argiro, Vince Wright, Kiran McDonald, Mike Vernal, Thomas Gordon, Tevita Tameilau
Replacements: Graeme Carson, Fraser Watt, Marc Kelly, Matthew Hooks, Roan Frostwick.
Heriot’s: Charlie Simpson; Rory McMichael, Ross Jones, Robert Kay, Craig Robertson; Stuart Edwards, Andrew Simmers; Martin Bouab, Michael Liness, Struan Cessford, Adam Sinclair, Callum Marshall, Iain Wilson (captain), Jack McLean, Ruaridh Leishman
Replacements: Ali Johnston, Josh Scott, Charlie Jupp, Struan Dewar, Alex Ball.
Saturday 12 January
Edinburgh Accies v Hawick (kick-off 2pm)
Currie Chieftains v Heriot's (kick-off 2.30pm)
Watsonians v Glasgow Hawks (kick-off 3pm)
Stirling County v Melrose (kick-off 3pm)
Ayr v Boroughmuir (kick-off 3pm)