Premiership play-off final: Hawick v Currie Chieftains – runners, riders and verdict

Hosts were unbeaten in the regular season but it all comes down to this one-off match

Hawick and Currie Chieftains will compete for the Premiership title at Mansfield Park on Saturday. Image: Ian Gidney
Hawick and Currie Chieftains will compete for the Premiership title at Mansfield Park on Saturday. Image: Ian Gidney

HAWICK are looking to win the top flight title for the first time since 2002 while Currie last won it in 2010 before they rebranded as the Chieftains, so Saturday’s Premiership final between the two sides at Mansfield Park is shaping up rather nicely with both sets of players keen to write their names in the history books.

In recent days volunteers have been out in force at the ground in the Borders making sure that the big game will beat the weather.

Hawick go into it having topped the regular season table with one draw and 17 wins from their 18 games and then backing it up with a play-off semi-final win over Marr last weekend. The 18-6 victory was perhaps not their most fluent performance of the season, but they were always on top of the men from Troon.

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Head coach Matty Douglas has been able to name an unchanged 22 for this one while his Chieftains’ counterpart Mark Cairns has been able to do the same.

Currie’s last outing was their comfortable 35-7 play-off semi-final win over Edinburgh Accies at Malleny Park last weekend which came off the back of a regular season in which they finished second in the table after 14 wins and four losses.

Two of those defeats for Currie came against Hawick: 46-25 at Malleny Park in October and 43-7 at Mansfield Park in January.

Those results and their unbeaten status makes Hawick favourites here, but Currie were favourites on their own patch in the final against Marr last season and lost out on the title, so these types of games must always be seen as a ‘one offs’.

  • Full interviews with Matty Douglas and Mark Cairns to follow.

The Lowdown –

Hawick v Currie Chieftains

(for the Bill McLaren Shield)

Venue: Mansfield Park @ 3pm

Teams –

Hawick: K Ford; C Welsh, A Mitchell, E Reilly, R McKean; K Brunton, H Patterson; S Muir©, F Renwick, N Little, C Sutherland, D Redpath, S Graham, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs: M Carryer, R Macleod, R Graham, S Fairbairn, G Welsh, G Huggan, L Ferguson.

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; K McGovern, DJ Innes, G Cannie, I Sim; J Forbes, G Christie; C Anderson, R Stewart, C Ramsay, W Inglis, E Stewart, A McCallum, G Nelson, R Davies©. Subs: J Drummond, J Ramsay, A Cameron, M Vernel, P Boyer, A Hall, J McCaig.

Key battle: Jae Linton versus Rhys Davies.

Team news –

Hawick: An unchanged 22 means Shawn Muir captains from loose-head and club captain Matty Carryer is on the bench.

Currie Chieftains: The squad – and starting team  remain unchanged for the first time this season.

What the coaches say –

“We now approach the biggest game for a long time at Mansfield on Saturday. It’s taken a huge effort from the players to be able to be in this position competing for a chance to lift the Premiership title for the first time in 20 odd years. We know how good a side Currie are if they play with high tempo and accuracy, so we need to produce our best effort of the season. We have a home final and are hopeful of a big crowd as it helped last weekend, but we are under no illusions about how tough this will be and there will be a lot of pressure flying around. However, we have a chance to make some history at the club and come Saturday we will be ready to go. We are excited for the task and challenge that lies ahead of us …” – Matty Douglas (Hawick)

“First up, a big thanks to all the volunteers at Hawick for laying the frost covers and getting this game on. Hawick have had a great season and are favourites to win the Premiership having gone unbeaten. It’s a great achievement and Matty and his team have done a great job. We have been playing well in recent weeks and the performance against Accies was our best of the season so far …” – Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains)

Verdict: Expect this to be much closer in terms of the final score than the two league matches between the sides. Hawick will want to get off to a more settled start than they did against Marr last week while Currie will throw everything at them in a bit to unsettle them. There are key players and potential matchwinners across both teams while the benches will be important in the second half. Hopefully a big crowd will turn out to see plenty of thrills and spills and the best that club rugby has to offer.

Home win.

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About Gary Heatly 457 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.