IT is now four weeks since Boroughmuir Bears were humbled 53-10 by Heriot’s in their last Super6 outing and while they cannot now make the top four play-offs, the Edinburgh side are eager to get back on the pitch this weekend and right some wrongs.
That is certainly the view of captain Chris Laidlaw who was as frustrated as anyone after the big loss to the Goldenacre men on January 25th and is using it as motivation as he prepares to lead his side into this afternoon’s rearranged round nine fixture with the Ayrshire Bulls on the 3G surface at the Queensferry Sports and Community Hub if Storm Ellen stays away.
“We need to find some consistency in our performances over the next few weeks,” he said. “It is going to be mentally challenging because after this week we will be playing County three games in a row [in the final match of the regular season and in the Super6 fifth/sixth place play-offs], but as a squad we are all very focused still and this Bulls game cannot come quickly enough because the big loss to Heriot’s hurt us.
“We know we didn’t show what we are capable of that day and since then we have been training hard and stayed tight as a group, but without games it is hard to show people what you are all about.
“Ultimately, we want to finish the season as high up the ladder as we can and if that is fifth then so be it, we certainly are not slacking off and the next month or so is very important for us.”
When the Bears defeated Heriot’s 34-31 at Meggetland on November 22nd, many felt they could kick on from there, but the opposite has happened. They have had to deal with some injuries while players like Gregor Brown, Kyle McGhie, Robbie McCallum, Rufus McLean and Cameron Scott have been with the Scotland under-20s, and Dan Winning was involved with Edinburgh Rugby on Friday night, but Laidlaw is not one for excuses.
“It is hard to put my finger on exactly why things have gone wrong, especially since Christmas,” he stated. “Before the Christmas break we were competitive and were a bit unlucky to lose to Watsonians at home, but since then we have struggled in the two Southern Knights games and then the manner of the Heriot’s defeat was very disappointing. We really want to put that Heriot’s performance to bed this Sunday.”
In this one, Toby Francombe gets his first start at hooker for the ‘home’ side, while ‘permit player’ Nathan Borel from Watsonians is at tight-head.
On the bench is Colin Arthur from Musselburgh along with Boroughmuir ‘club XV’ player Chris Anderson to cover front-row, while Watsonians Ewan Fox will cover stand-off.
Fraser Hastie and Tyler Beary come into the Bulls starting XV in the second-row and on the wing respectively as Marshall Sykes and Matt Davidson are injured. On the bench, Gavin Wilson, Aylan Schabort and James Pinkerton all come in.
“It seems like a long break since our last Super6 game, but we have trained hard and playing against Newcastle Falcons has aided our preparation,” said Bulls head coach Pete Murchie. “We are really focused on this weekend against Boroughmuir Bears, there seems to be a determination to swing the momentum as we approach the business end of the season.”
Boroughmuir Bears (versus Ayrshire Bulls at Queensferry Sports and Community Hub, Sunday, kick-off: 3.45pm): Glen Faulds; Cammy Gray, Ronan Kerr, Archie Russell, Jordan Edmunds; Chris Laidlaw©, Murray Johnstone; AP McWilliam, Toby Francombe, Nathan Borel, Ewan Stewart, Will Inglis, David Medjebeur, Scott McGinley, Craig Keddie. Subs: Ryan Montgomery, Chris Anderson, Chris Arthur, Tom Drennan, Matt Walker, Jack Hamilton, Ewan Fox, Greg Cannie.
Ayrshire Bulls: Ross Thompson; Tyler Beary, Danny McCluskey, Isaac McNulty, Craig Gossman; Tom Jordan, Harry Warr; Gordon Reid, Sam Kitchen, Nicolas Griffiths, Fraser Hastie, Lars Morrice, George Bordill, Peter McCallum©, Blair Macpherson. Subs: Alex McGuire, Michael Scott, Ruairidh Sayce, Gavin Wilson, Lewis Anderson, Graham Geldenhuys, Aylan Schabort, James Pinkerton.