STARTING at the front this week, Ryan Toogood barely had a second to draw breath when Hawick club captain Shawn Muir went down with a serious looking knee injury just before kick-off on Saturday, meaning that the tyro prop had to get stripped and start against GHA. The 18-year-old took it all in his stride, eliciting praise from head coach George Graham – a former loose-head prop of considerable standing in his own right – and earning the man-of-the-match gong.
Fergus Scott once again led from the front for Currie chieftains, so retains the No 2 jersey. That means Paul Cairncross of Glasgow Hawks and Matty Carryer of Hawick are unlucky to miss out.
Craig Bachurzewski chipped in with another dominant display and two tries for good measure to retain the tight-head slot, edging into the team ahead of the industrious Colin Arthur of Musselburgh.
In the second-row, Mike Vernel also retains his place after another typically hard-working performance, with his carrying a ket to putting Chieftains on the front foot against Selkirk. He is joined in the boiler-house by Ewan Hamilton-Bulger, who similarly took on a lot of hard carrying, had a ‘sumptuous, Nakarawa-esque offload’ and was a reliable source on his own and a real handful on the opposition’s line-out ball. Sione Halafihi of Glasgow Hawks can count himself desperately unlucky that his full-blooded commitment to the tackle isn’t edge him into the team this week.
In the back-row, Wallace Nelson played out of position – he’s usually a winger – but impressive with ball in hand and scored a good try, so starts at open-side despite picking up a yellow-card.
Mackenzie Pearce bulldozed over for Marr’s first try against Musselburgh and was a powerful and effective presence throughout as part of a dominant Marr pack, so is selected at blindside flanker.
No 8 is always a keenly contested position and this week is no different. Benendict Grant of Marr made a strong case for retaining his place in the team but faded towards the end, while Bruce McNeil of Hawick (as always) and Musselburgh replacement Calum Champion also made strong cases, but Ryan Sweeney of Glasgow Hawks gets the nod this week for his central role in Glasgow Hawks’ excellent turnaround this week against Aberdeen Grammar following last week’s heavy defeat at Selkirk.
Behind the scrum, Max Love‘s three tries for Edinburgh Accies against Jed gets him in at scrum-half, but he had to withhold a strong challenge from Jack Preston of Marr. He links up with his Accies half-back partner Jamie Loomes, who ran the show expertly for Edinburgh Accies until they went off the boil in the final quarter and almost blew it.
Robbie Yourston of Jed gets the nod at inside centre and Andrew Mitchell is the second Hawick teenager to make the team at outside centre, with his pace, power and ability to pick an angle demonstrated with his excellent try against GHA.
On the left wing, Jacob Henry, who is a stage three SRU Academy player and part of the Southern Knights Super6 squad, stretched the Chieftains defence with some dangerous running after coming off the bench for Selkirk.
Nathan Brown‘s hat-trick earns selection on the right wing, which means Callum Young is massively unlucky to miss out again, especially after scoring a length of the park try, but his good form is bound to earn selection some time soon.
Nathan Sweeney, who is also a stage three SRU Academy player and part of the Southern Knights Super6 squad, was a stand-out at full-back for Musselburgh, where he was solid in defence and a really threat with ball in hand.
15. Nathan Sweeney (Musselburgh)
14. Nathan Brown (Aberdeen Grammar)
13. Andrew Mitchell (Hawick)
12. Robbie Yourston (Jed-Forest)
11. Jacob Henry (Selkirk)
10. Jamie Loomes (Edinburgh Accies)
9. Max Love (Edinburgh Accies)
1. Ryan Toogood (Hawick)
2. Fergus Scott (Currie Chieftains)
3. Craig Greer-Bachurzewski (Hawick)
4. Mike Vernel (Currie Chieftains)
5. Ewan Hamilton-Bulger (Marr)
6. Mackenzie Pearce (Marr)
7. Wallace Nelson (Currie Chieftains)
8. Ryan Sweeney (Glasgow Hawks)