Premiership preview for Saturday 28th October: runners, riders and verdict

Jamie Sole marks his 200th appearance for Edinburgh Accies 1st XV by leading them into battle in capital derby versus Currie Chieftains

Jamie Sole will make his 200th appearance for Edinburgh Accies 1st XV this weekend. Image: @Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Jamie Sole will make his 200th appearance for Edinburgh Accies 1st XV this weekend. Image: @Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

JAMIE SOLE will captain Edinburgh Accies on his 200th appearance for the club’s 1st XV this weekend as the Premiership regular season reaches the halfway point.

Sole, the son of 1990 Scotland Grand Slam skipper David, and his charges are up against Currie Chieftains in an intriguing Edinburgh derby that pitches fifth up against third at Raeburn Place.

Leaders Marr were not at their best against Jed-Forest last week and know they’ll need to be better this time around against in-form Musselburgh at Fullarton Park.


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Second placed Hawick are after a seventh win in a row and they welcome ninth placed Selkirk to Mansfield Park for a Border derby. The other Border clash of this round of action is critical for bottom club Jed-Forest. They put in their best performance of the season to date against Marr last time out, but still lost and the winless side will need to perform even better to get anything at eighth placed Kelso.

Seventh placed Glasgow Hawks take on fourth placed Heriot’s Blues at Balgray and if you like to see the ball thrown about this could be the game for you.

How it stands –

 

The Lowdown –

Edinburgh Accies v Currie Chieftains

Venue: Raeburn Place @ 3pm

Teams –

Edinburgh Accies: R Chalmers; F MacNeill, M Wallace, G Woods, K Gossman; B Appleson, P Ritchie; C Imrie, F McAslan, A Hain, T Drennan, S Whittaker, A Inwood, K Slingby, J Sole©. Subs: C Crookshank, R Dunbar, G Hall, D McGrath, B Grainger.

Currie Chieftains: E Crombie; J McCaig, DJ Innes, A Harley, M Bradshaw; S Leto, C Lessels; T Jeffrey, R Stewart, G Carson©, A Bain, C West, K Steel, S Cardosi, R Davies. Subs: S Fisher, C Anderson, A Fletcher, P Boyer, R Daley.

Key battle: Jamie Sole versus Rhys Davies

Team news –

Edinburgh Accies: Finlay MacNeill comes into the starting line-up on the wing in an otherwise unchanged backline. Struan Whittaker returns to replace the injured Cameron Bain in the second-row and Kieran Slingsby comes back into the squad to start in the back-row after impressing for the 2nd team. Calum Crookshank and Ross Dunbar return to the bench after unavailability.

Currie Chieftains: In the forwards, Ryan Stewart and Kyle Steel start with Ali Bain moving from back-row to second-row. Sam Leto is available this week and replaces the unavailable Jamie Forbes at 10. James McCaig is back from injury and starts on the wing with Graeme Carson as skipper.

What the coaches say –

“This week we welcome a team we have had some great fixtures against over the past few seasons to Raeburn. They have shown some real consistency in selection and we understand the challenge that awaits. However, we need to get back to winning ways at home and continue to develop as a group with the challenges we are facing at present. Finally, this game marks Jamie Sole’s 200th game for Edinburgh Accies, a fantastic achievement from a man who I have seen grow from a young full-back to one of the best back-rows in the league. Jamie continues to drive the standards week-in-week-out and gives an immense contribution to this fantastic club …” – Iain Berthinussen (Edinburgh Accies)

“Last week was a tough match and Kelso were in the fight up until half-time until we produced an excellent 15 minutes of attacking rugby to put the game away. The challenge this week is to produce that level of performance for a more sustained period. It’s a big derby match that was won by Accies with the last kick of the game last season. I can’t think of a more important match on this Saturday …”  Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains)

Verdict: Fifth against third in an Edinburgh derby points to a fairly tasty encounter. Currie have been the stronger attacking side of the two so far this season with 282 points from seven games versus Accies’ 218 from eight games. This visitors may miss Jamie Forbes’ control at 10 and Ali McCallum in the pack while the hosts will be determined to put on a show for Jamie Sole’s 200th match.

A tight home win.

 

Glasgow Hawks v Heriot’s Blues

Venue: Balgray @ 3pm

Teams –

Glasgow Hawks: J Couper; R Flett, J Pinkerton, J McConkey, T Macleod; G Cruickshanks, J Imrie; K Shanahan, P Cairncross, M Goodwin, M Crumlish, S Leckey©, A Syme, L Stewart, T Wright. Subs: A Burgess, F Muir, Y Shaheen, W Burrows, H Provan.

Heriot’s Blues: A Hunter; P Christie, B Kay©, K Kutsuna, F Stanier; L Townsend, G Wilson; J Lascelles, R Jackson, A Bogle, N Docherty, M Keough, R Kirkpatrick, M Dillon, A Johnston. Subs: D Dineen, A Munro, W Brown, K Singleton, P Burns.

Key battle: Torquil MacLeod versus Paul Christie

Team news –

Glasgow Hawks: In the forwards, Mike Downer has returned to South Africa which means Kyle Shanahan come in at loose-head. Paul Cairncross has recovered from his head knock so replaces Aaron Burgess at hooker while in the back-row Andrew Syme gets the nod over JP Thomson who drops to the 2nd XV, with Yousuf Shaheen set to make his debut from the bench. In the backs, the only change sees fit again Ryan Flett come in for Sam Graham who is unavailable. On the bench, Wayne Burrows returns from injury while Harry Provan is available again after being on holiday.

Heriot’s Blues: In the backs, veteran Graham Wilson earns a start at nine with Kenta Katsuna moving to 12. Niall Docherty starts in the second-row up front. Angus Munro and Keir Singleton come onto the bench.

What the coaches say –

“Heriot’s love to chuck the ball around which based on our last outing versus Musselburgh should make for an entertaining game of rugby. Heriot’s are flying high in fourth which is a great result by Phil and his team after last year. At the halfway point in the season this feels like a massive game for us and we are needing to get a result against a team who are pushing for the top four to show we have the ability to compete with the best teams in the league… “ – Andy Hill (Glasgow Hawks)

“The key to this weekend is to back up last week’s performance against Hawick. Hawks will provide a fairly similar challenge in that they have a strong set-piece and like to throw the ball about. Let’s just hope the rain stays away so both teams get the opportunity to do so …” – Phil Smith (Heriot’s Blues)

Verdict: These teams scored 42 and 33 points respectively last time out and only ended up recording a draw and a loss, so they will be out for a similar points tally but a win this time around. It should be an entertaining game which Heriot’s may just sneak if the 8-9-10 axis of Ali Johnston, Graham Wilson and Luke Townsend are on their game.

Away win.

 

Hawick v Selkirk

Venue: Mansfield Park @ 3pm

Teams –

Hawick: K Ford; M Tait, C Welsh, A Mitchell, O Gray; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir©, F Renwick, N Little, H Donaldson, C Sutherland, S Graham, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs: R Anderson, T Hope, D Redpath, D Lightfoot, L Armstrong.

Selkirk: C Anderson; B Pickles, A Grant-Suttie, R Nixon, J Welsh; Aaron McColm, H Alderson; L Pettie, B Riddell, Z Szwagrzak, C Turnbull, A Cochrane, L Cassidy, S McClymont©, Andrew McColm. Subs: F Easson, J Millburn, S Clark, J Bett, B Cullen.

Key battle: Shawn Muir versus Zen Szwagrzak

Team news –

Hawick: Second-row Fraser Wilson is rested as he has a slight niggle, so Hughie Joe Donaldson replaces him in the starting XV. Fraser Renwick rotates in for Russell Anderson at hooker and the backline is unchanged meaning teenager Owain Gray gets the chance to build on a promising debut on the wing last week. Deaglan Lightfoot and Lee Armstrong join the bench.

Selkirk: Poland international Zen Szwagrzak is available this week and starts alongside Bruce Riddell and Luke Pettie in a strong front-row. Jamie Turnbull is unavailable due to injury which gives Liam Cassidy an opportunity for his first start at blindside. The only change in the backs sees Josh Welsh move onto the wing with Ross Nixon coming in at centre. Hugo Alderson retains the scrum half position after a solid start to his Premiership career last week. James Bett returns to the squad and will get game time from the bench.

What the coaches say –

“After a positive result last week which keeps us moving in the right direction, we look towards our third Border derby of the season. We have had some tight encounters with Selkirk over the last few years and know how hard they are to break down, so we must be firing on all cylinders this weekend. We are in a good place heading into what will be a battle, but we trust our processes and we have had a really positive week when the players have driven their own energy and hunger at training …” – Matty Douglas (Hawick)

“A massive game for the club this weekend. Border derbies are special games with all players excited to be involved. We need to take the positives from our second half performance last week against Accies and start with the same intent and work-rate. The first half wasn’t good enough and we certainly can’t perform at that level at Hawick. If we take the edge that has been at training this week in this game then we can build confidence and create chances that we must exploit…” – Gordon Henderson (Selkirk)

Verdict: Selkirk were the only visiting side not to lose at Mansfield Park last season in the league when they earned a draw on the opening day. They have lost their last two heading into this one and will want to perform nearer or above the levels they showed to win at Kelso on October 7th. Hawick are looking for a seventh league win on the spin and if their key men step up it should come here.

Home win.

 

Kelso v Jed-Forest

Venue: Poynder Park @ 3pm

Teams –

Kelso: A Barbour; A Roberts, D Patterson, F Robson©, R Tweedie; M Hastie, A Tait; G Shiells, E Knox, T Logan, C Brown, K Melbourne, L Tait, M Woodcock, B McNeil. Subs: A Frame, A Asante, A Sweenie, J Glendinning, J Thompson.

Jed-Forest: L Young; G Young, O Cranston, D Buckley, R Shirra-Gibb; G Munro, M Glen; S Anderson, H Keith, H Meadows, C Skeldon©, D Wardrop, J Ferguson, B Roff, B Fotheringham. Subs: M Purves, J Hynd, H Stenhouse, A Bambrick, L Elder.

Key battle: Dwain Patterson versus Owen Cranston

Team news –

Kelso: On the wings, Robbie Tweedie returns after a head knock and Angus Roberts makes his first appearance of the season. Grant Shiells, Cammy Brown, Terry Logan, Euan Knox and Murray Woodcock all start in the pack.

Jed-Forest: In the backs, Robbie Shirra-Gibb returns to the wing with Lewis Elder dropping to be the bench. Up front, Jamie Ferguson comes into the back-row with Dan Wardrop moving into to second row.

What the coaches say –

“Jed-Forest are looking more like themselves after last week against Marr when they were unlucky not to get more from that match and we know they will be targeting ourselves to get off the mark. We must be ready for a big Border derby battle that both sides want to win badly …” – Bruce McNeil (Kelso)

“This week is a must-win for us. We played a lot better last week at Riverside, but there’s still room for improvement. Having a settled side for a change is a huge plus point, but we need to build on last Saturday’s performance against Marr. We’re still conceding too many points which has to change. If we’re going to survive in the Premiership, we need to tighten our defence. Past results show that Kelso have confidence at home, we’ve not played each other for about four or five seasons, so we’re expecting a very tough game on Saturday …”  David Grieve (Jed-Forest)

Verdict: As David Grieve says, this is a ‘must-win’ game for bottom of the table Jed. Kelso have had two wins, a draw and a loss at home since they returned to the top flight and will be after another positive result. This will be a battle from the first minute to the last, but with a settled side and a lot riding on it, Jed’s players may just rise to the occasion to breathe life into their campaign.

Away win.

 

Marr v Musselburgh

(for the Bill McLaren Shield)

Venue: Fullarton Park @ 3pm

Teams –

Marr: G Montgomery; S Bickerstaff, G Paxton, C Bickerstaff©, J Jacobson; C Sturgeon, G Baird; A Rogers, S Reekie, A Apthorpe, D Andrew, E Hamilton-Bulger, C Young, K Vallance, B Jardine. Subs: G Dick, C Smith, B Johnston, R Baird, C Inglis.

Musselburgh: P Cunningham; R Hindhaugh, R Watt©, B Heber, S Watt; M McMillan, F Call; C Owenson, R Stott, C Arthur, J Arnold, J Haynes, M Maltman, G Inkster, J Lister. Subs: R Mackie, R Brown, P Bogie, M Crawford, D Owenson.

Key battle: Greg Montgomery versus Paul Cunningham

Team news –

Marr: Fraser Grant is out through injury, Ewan Hamilton-Bulger is drafted in from the Ayrshire Bulls and starts in the second-row. Grant Baird rotates with Robbie Baird at scrum-half, while  Ben Johnston makes a welcome return as a replacement.

Musselburgh: Back-rower Gavin Inkster returns to start again after his impressive display against Hawick, so too does Colin Arthur and Fionn Call. On the bench, young Ross Brown returns from an ankle injury and is joined by Matthew Crawford, Paul Bogie and Danny Owenson.

What the coaches say –

“It was a seriously tough game last week and we have worked hard this week on a number of things. Musselburgh are playing some nice stuff so we need to be really focused at set-piece and in defence. It’s going to be another tough game I feel. The boys have responded well to the week’s work and hopefully we’ll put it together on Saturday …” – Kenny Diffenthal (Marr)

“We are on track with all our metrics and targets in attack this year and have developed what we believe is a clear identity in terms of how we want to play with the ball. There comes a time, though, when we need to mature as a side and not just think that we will outscore our opponents with little appetite for defence. Despite our much-improved league position we are on average worse than last year on the defensive side of the ball and it’s costing us valuable league points. We have worked hard to shore up on some of that detail this week and we get to test that at one of the toughest places to play in clubland. Hostile and unforgiving, we will see how far we have really come on Saturday …” – Derek O’Riordan (Musselburgh)

Verdict: Marr know that a fourth home defence of the Bill McLaren Shield here will see their name engraved on the silverware and then they can take it on the road. They also have the chance to make it eight wins in a row which, despite Musselburgh’s big improvements this term, they should do.

Home win.


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About Gary Heatly 463 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.

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