National One preview: Biggar have a fight on their hands at Highland

Both sides scored 50 points last week so a feast of attacking rugby is on the cards, while Gala look to bounce back from opening day defeat

Biggar v Boroughmuir
Biggar defeated Boroughmuir last week. Image: Nigel Pacey

BIGGAR got off to a great start in Tennent’s National League Division One last week, but they are expecting a tough match up at Canal Park in Inverness against Highland this Saturday.

The men from Hartreemill began the 2019-20 league campaign with a 53-7 home triumph over Boroughmuir and at the same time Highland were scoring 50 points at Cartha Queens Park.

No doubt both coaching teams will have been focusing on defence this week in training, but if both attacks can hit the same sort of groove as last week then this match could be a cracker.

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“We were pleased with aspects of last week’s performance and the guys were quite clinical when they got the chance, but it is just one game and there has been plenty to look at and build on in recent days,” said Biggar forwards coach (and former Peebles, Gala and Watsonians player) Craig Borthwick. “We have a good group who want to learn all the time and we have prepared them for a hard trip to Highland. They are a club who have been on the rise and we respect what they have done, but we just need to focus on what we can do.”

Borthwick is registered as a player, but suffered an injury against Broughmuir so will be on the sidelines for this one.

Meanwhile, Gala started the season with a 35-25 defeat on the road to Stirling County Wolves, but head coach Opeta Palepoi believes the Maroons will show their true selves this weekend.

“Last week didn’t go that well for a few reasons, our bus was a bit delayed getting to Stirling and then it seemed like the boys didn’t really get off the bus in the early stages,” explained the former Samoan internationalist.

“There were a lot of mistakes, credit to Stirling they capitalised, but I guess the pleasing thing was that despite that we were still in the game late on.

“The guys enjoy playing at home and we have a good group at the club so I expect us to be better this week.”

Thomas Davidson’s Cartha make the trip to Netherdale from Glasgow; and Stirling County Wolves are also on the road to the Borders to take on Kelso at Poynder Park, with the home side smarting from their loss to Melrose last week.

Two Club XVs of Super6 clubs meet at Meggetland when Boroughmuir host Ayr. During last week’s defeat to Biggar, 11 Boroughmuir players made their top team debuts and despite the negative result head coach Richard Sievwright has been impressed by the way the squad have refocused in training in recent days.

“With the club now having a Super6 team it is a new era for everyone at Boroughmuir, but myself and fellow coaches Joni Hare and Neil Wood are saying to the guys in our squad ‘grasp this opportunity’ and on Saturday they will be playing on the stand pitch which will be great for the younger players,” he said.

“Hopefully the things we have worked on in training this week can help the guys to get a bit more front foot ball this week and then our exciting backline can show what they can do. Ayr had a good win last week so it should be a competitive match.”

Watsonians host Dundee HSFP, in what will be Orcadian scrum-half Willie Thomson’s last game at Myreside before he relocates home. Both sides have played two and lost two in competitive matches this season, so something will have to give.

Over the years, Heriot’s versus Melrose clashes in the ‘old’ Premiership have thrown up some brilliant encounters. This weekend, their new-look squads – with the hosts now known as Heriot’s Blues – meet at Goldenacre.  Both are coming off good opening day wins, so another potential cracker is in store.

This weekend’s National League Division One fixtures (all 3pm) –

Gala v Cartha Queens Park

Kelso v Stirling County Wolves

Highland v Biggar

Boroughmuir v Ayr

Watsonians v Dundee HSFP

Heriot’s Blues v Melrose

Heriot's Blues19145067236530716173
Stirling Wolves18981413429-166347
Cartha QP197111559587-2811445
Dundee High203170313695-3823116

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Gary Heatly
About Gary Heatly 173 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