Teams prepare for FOSROC Super6 Round 2
The second weekend of FOSROC Super6 takes place with two games on Saturday (16 November) and the live broadcast match, an Edinburgh derby between Heriot’s Rugby and Watsonians, coming from Goldenacre on Sunday afternoon.
Ayrshire Bulls entertain Boroughmuir Bears at Millbrae as both sides look to get a first win while Stirling County, winners of the first ever FOSROC Super6 fixture last Friday night, welcome Southern Knights to Bridgehaugh.
The Bulls came up short in their first fixture, something that Head Coach Peter Murchie said at the time was down to a few contributing factors: “Defensively we were too passive, attacking-wise we never got going. I think everyone’s in the same boat to be honest – it’s been so long [since competitive rugby]. We played better against Watsonians [in a pre-season friendly].
“We knew it was a big occasion, the first FOSROC Super6 game, at home playing a good team, so everyone’s disappointed but there’s only one way to fix it and that’s by training hard and sorting it out. You have to see a reaction.”
Murchie makes seven changes to the starting team, with Ruaridh Sayce, Fraser Hastie, David Armstrong, Tom Lewis and Ollie Smith all coming in, allied to Glasgow Warriors’ Stafford McDowall and Rory Hughes.
Visitors Boroughmuir Bears will be determined to bounce back from their opening day loss to Stirling County.
Head Coach Graham Shiel said: “Game two affords more players the opportunity to make their debuts in the FOSROC Super 6 competition and the chance to stake a claim for a starting spot in future weeks.
“The squad put a huge defensive effort into their performance last week, which they should be proud of, but the aim this week is to be more of an attacking threat against the Ayrshire Bulls.
“It is a bit of a luxury being able to make changes with confidence that players coming into the squad will grab their opportunity and help to create competition for places along with keeping some players fresh for the weeks ahead.
“Millbrae is always a tough venue and with both teams posting losses in the opening round, Boroughmuir Bears are very keen to improve to continue our progress and take forward into round three.
The aforementioned County will be hoping to build on week one’s victory and Ben Cairns makes a few alterations to his squad.
Stirling County Head Coach Ben Cairns said: “Andrew Davidson and Matt Smith join Brandon Thomson in being released from the Warriors and go straight into the starting side. Cameron Henderson moves to the bench with James Pow and Ross Bundy the unfortunate guys to miss out.
“Billy Dineen gets his first start in place of Adam Nicol while George Arnott is also available having retuned from concussion, we are really looking forward to seeing him play after an excellent pre-season.
“There is only one change in the backline which sees a timely return for Robbie Kent to replace the unavailable Landon Hayes. Adam Wood, Aaron Thomson and Ollie Horne come onto the bench.
“It was great to get off the mark in our first FOSROC Super6 match, especially playing away. The boys dug themselves out of a 21-10 half time hole and that belief should hold us in good stead as the season progresses.
“This week is all about backing it up at home. The Southern Knights will have been disappointed with how last week unfolded having controlled the game for large parts.
“It should be a great day at Bridgehaugh on Saturday with around 250 women at the annual Ladies’ Lunch plus the Wolves and Edinburgh Accies also at home. The club has done a great job in promoting the match especially within the student population so we’d hope to see a sizeable crowd.”
Rob Chrystie’s Southern Knights lost by a single point in week one so will be desperate to make amends this time around.
Explaining his selection, the Head Coach Chrystie said: “There are a few changes from last weekend’s starting 15 with Fraser Renwick, Ruaridh Knott and Rory Darge starting in the pack whilst Andrew Nagle comes in at 12. A well-balanced bench will be looking to make an impact this weekend which also includes 18-year-old Fosroc Academy Stage 3 player Nathan Sweeney who has impressed throughout pre-season.
“This is sure to be another cracking day with Stirling hosting their first FOSROC Super6 match. Last weekend’s game against Boroughmuir Bears showed that Ben and his management have their squad well organised. I am sure they will be raring to go so it is important we are focused from the start and improve on last weekend’s performance.”
Sunday’s mouth-watering match-up at Goldenacre sees Heriot’s Rugby host perennial rivals Watsonians, a game home boss Phil Smith is eagerly anticipating.
He said: “It’s all change - only Iain Wilson, Stuart Edwards, Robert Kay and Rory McMichael get the opportunity to back up last week’s fantastic performance and result.
“The first three teams were picked a few weeks ago and the players were alerted, so thankfully no stressful conversation with Cameron Hutchison (last week’s Player of the Match) was had! In short, it’s another opportunity for another group of players to express themselves.
“There is a lot of excitement around the club. Last week’s performance has helped, but it was already high due to us welcoming our local rivals in our first home FOSROC Super6 match. The lunch is a sell-out, the junior section have changed their training times to be able to support and ticket sales are going well.
“It looks as if Fergus [Pringle] and Nikki have really got their group going with an outstanding victory down in Melrose last weekend. With the pack looking particularly tasty it looks like whoever wins the forward battle will give their exciting-looking back division a chance to shine. It should be a cracker!”