PREM PREVIEW | Melrose host Currie Chieftains in penultimate fixture
It’s a big weekend of action in the Tennent’s Premiership before the teams break for the Guinness Six Nations.
Third placed Currie head down to the Borders to take on Melrose, who sit in second, with only three points separating the two sides.
With only two games remaining, the fixture tomorrow could well determine who receives a home tie in the play-offs.
Melrose will be looking to avenge last weekend’s defeat to Heriot’s in a tight affair that finished 21-26. Rob Chrystie will be without the injured Ian Sim and has brought in Michael Muelace-Julyan as his replacement. Ben McLean has earned himself a place on the bench after some hard work throughout the season and performing for their second-string, the Storm.
Ahead of the fixture Head Coach Chystie said, “This weekend we welcome Currie to the Greenyards who are at the top of their game and are sure to be full of confidence. They seem to have a settled squad that has strength throughout and are very well organised.
“We have worked hard this week and if we are to get the desired result it will be crucial that we take our chances.”
Currie Chieftains will be without number nine Roan Frostwick after his selection for Scotland U20s and will be replaced by Chris Davis. The only other change to a settled team is AP McWilliam coming back onto the bench to replace Reece Patterson who has been soldiering on with a shoulder injury.
Visiting Head Coach Ben Cairns has a play-off semi-final firmly in his sights, “We are relishing the challenge of going to the Greenyards, knowing that a win that would give us a great chance of a playoff semi-final at Malleny. The club has endured a lot this season and it’s a testament to the club and players that we have continued to improve.
“We are a very close-knit group and we will require a complete performance against a Melrose team who we expect to come out the blocks firing after last weekend’s defeat to Heriots. “
In the other fixtures in Round 17 of the Tennent’s Premiership, Watsonians will hope that a win against Edinburgh Academicals will keep their play-off hopes alive, while Ayr will be looking to consolidate the top-spot as they take on Glasgow Hawks at Millbrae.
Elsewhere, fourth-placed Heriot’s are at home to Boroughmuir who will be looking to bounce back from defeat last weekend and Stirling County host Hawick at Bridgehaugh.
Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Gavin Wood, Patrick Anderson, Craig Jackson, Michael Muelace-Julyan; Struan Hutchison, Murdo McAndrew; Grant Shiells, Richard Ferguson, Conor Young, Angus Runciman, Ian Moody, Neil Irvine-Hess, Ruaridh Knott, Grant Runciman (Captain). Subs: Ben McLean, Calum Crookshanks, Callum Wilde, David Colvine, Andrew Jardine.
Currie Chieftains: Jamie Forbes; Ben Robbins, Joe Reynolds, Robbie Nelson (Captain), Steven Hamilton; Gregor Hunter, Chris Davies; Matias Argiro, Fergus Scott, Fraser Watt, Vince Wright, Kiran McDonald, Mike Vernel, Thomas Gordon, Scott McGinley. Subs: Graeme Carson, AP McWilliam, Marc Kelly, Rhys Davies, Matthew Hooks.
Tennent's Premiership Fixtures
Saturday 26 Jan 2019
14.00 Edinburgh Academical FC v Watsonian FC
14.00 Heriot's v Boroughmuir
14.00 Melrose RFCv Currie Chieftains
14.30 Stirling County RFC v Hawick RFC
15.00 Ayr RFCv Glasgow Hawks RFC