National One preview: upbeat Sangster looks forward to Dundee’s long trip north

Mayfield side have lost six more players to injury, but head coach has challenged his side to embrace the challenge of taking on third placed Highland

Dundee HSFP lost at home to Cartha last Saturday and face a tough challenge this weekend as they look to kick-start their season away to Highland. Image: Jon Mussen
Dundee HSFP lost at home to Cartha last Saturday and face a tough challenge this weekend as they look to kick-start their season away to Highland. Image: Jon Mussen

DUNDEE HIGH head coach Colin Sangster has insisted that he is looking forward to taking his struggling side up to Canal Park to take on high-flying Highland on Saturday, but also knows that they have to find some positive form soon or risk being cut adrift in 12th spot.

The visitors hopes of causing a shock in Inverness have not been helped by six injuries picked up last week in the loss to Cartha Queens Park, but Sangster has been pleased with the work put in at training in recent days by his squad members who are fit and able to travel north.

“This game up at Highland is a big one, but they are all big ones,” the head coach said. “We have a significant injury list to deal with at the moment and last week’s problems have certainly not helped this. Some might say the last thing you want at this stage of things is a long away trip, but for me these kinds of challenges are to be faced head-on and having spent most of my rugby days in Caithness it’ll be nice to be back up north. The guys are looking forward to the game.”


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Highland are up to third in the division and have bounced back brilliantly from consecutive defeats to Heriot’s Blues and Watsonians in early October. Since then they have won a Scottish Cup tie against Stirling County Wolves and comfortably defeated Boroughmuir and Ayr in the league, and this weekend they will want to make the most of their fourth home game on the spin.

Kelso are second bottom in the table and they know they cannot keep giving teams head-starts if they are to climb upwards. Last weekend at Myreside, they were in the game until an interception try right on the stroke of half-time handed Watsonians a big advantage and, even after that, they nearly fought back for some losing bonus points. Ultimately, they came away empty-handed, and they will be desperate to bounce back against Boroughmuir in their first home match since they defeating Heriot’s there in mid-October.

Boroughmuir travel south sitting in 10th spot in the table, three points above the Poynder Park side, so this is unlikely to be a match for the faint hearted, but it will certainly be a crucial game in this league.

Gala are eyeing up a home win over Ayr and they go into the Netherdale having hit a fairly positive run of form in recent weeks with two wins and a draw in their last three league and Scottish Cup outings.

At the top of the table, Biggar will be looking for a seventh league win on the bounce at home to fifth placed Stirling County.

Melrose bounced back up to second place last week after they defeated County under the watchful eye of Doddie Weir who was at The Greenyards opening the new community 3G pitch. The Borderers are on the road this week to Dumbreck in Glasgow ato play a Cartha Queens Park side who are keen to build on the good patches they put in during last week’s victory away at Dundee.

Last, but by no means least, there is an Edinburgh derby at Goldenacre when Heriot’s Blues host Watsonians. The home side are third in the table and were excellent a fortnight ago in defeating GHA in the Scottish Cup, but then saw their attacking threats nullified by Biggar in the league. Watsonians scored 42 points against Kelso in their last outing, but an away win still eludes them this term and captain Chris Bell and his team will be keen for a positive result across the capital.

This weekend’s National League Division One fixtures (2pm unless stated) –

Heriot’s Blues v Watsonians

Biggar v Stirling County Wolves

Cartha Queens Park v Melrose

Kelso v Boroughmuir (3pm)

Gala v Ayr (3pm)

Highland v Dundee HSFP (3pm)

Current league standings –

Nat 1PWLDFADTBLBPts
Biggar RFC109103871222659045
Heriot's Blues107304032531509138
Melrose Rugby10820266236306038
Highland RFC107303202141066135
Gala RFC10541293250436129
Stirling Wolves1054126726076129
Cartha Queens10460363308557225
Ayr RFC10451245283-385124
Watsonian FC10451246323-775023
Kelso RFC10370186340-1543217
Boroughmuir10280159294-1352212
Dundee HSFP100100169421-252101

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 97 Articles
Gary has had a love for both rugby and writing for as far back as he can remember. Having cut his teeth in the ‘real world’ of journalism at the Midlothian Advertiser local newspaper for a couple of years between 2005 and 2007, he has since been kept busy covering sport, mainly rugby. He was a member of the editorial team at SCRUM Magazine for 11 years until recently and now provides regular rugby content to various national and local newspapers, magazines and websites via his company GH Media as well as hosting a podcast. Twitter: G_HMedia

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