Premiership round two preview: runners, riders and verdicts

Champions Marr head to Raeburn Place for clash against Edinburgh Accies while Jed-Forest host Hawick in a mouthwatering Border derby

Musselburgh host Currie Chieftains at Stoneyhill this weekend. Image: John Durham
Musselburgh host Currie Chieftains at Stoneyhill this weekend. Image: John Durham

IT was a good day for the home teams in week one of this Premiership season last weekend with four of the sides on their own turf securing victories and one drawing – so, will that trend continue in week two?

Well, it may be trickier for clubs to have home comforts this time around because last year’s top two are on the road. The 2021-22 runners-up Currie Chieftains head to Stoneyhill to take on Musselburgh while the reigning champions Marr are at Edinburgh Accies.

The latter is undoubtably the match of the day in the top flight given that both sides secured five points last week and Accies reached the play-offs last term.


Fergus Scott calls time on a distinguished playing career

That was the month that was: August 2022

West of Scotland topple Stirling County as youth season gets up and running


There is a tasty-looking Border derby at Riverside Park with Andy Brown overseeing his first home game in charge of Jed-Forest. He is boosted by the return of the Young twins, Lewis and Gregor, for the visit of Hawick.

Heriot’s Blues play their first home game since promotion while their visitors GHA will be looking for a better outcome than last week at Edinburgh Accies.

Selkirk will have taken heart from their draw away at Hawick and they welcome Glasgow Hawks to Philiphaugh. Hawks defeated Heriot’s last week, but know they can play better.

 

The Lowdown –

Musselburgh v Currie Chieftains

Venue: Stoneyhill @ 3pm

Teams –

Musselburgh: J Ferguson; C Marshall, F Thomson, R Watt, S Watt; M McMillan, D Owenson©; R Hanning, B Stott, C Arthur, L Milne, J Haynes, C Pryde, M Crawford, L Hutson. Subs: F Duraj, N McNairn, L Henderson, F Call, T Foley.

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; K McGovern, J McCaig, A Hall, C Meager; J Forbes, P Boyer; G Carson©, S Fisher, C Ramsay, A McCallum, C Roman, J Duncan, G Nelson, A MacLean. Subs: R Stewart, A Cameron, J O’Brien, M Vernel, S Leto.

Key battle: James Ferguson versus Charlie Brett.

Team news –

Musselburgh: Winger Callum Marshall and young stand-off Matty McMillan come into the starting XV with the latter’s inclusion seeing skipper Danny Owenson move to nine. Loosehead prop Ross Hanning and second-row Lochie Milne also come in.

Currie Chieftains: Greg Cannie picked up a knock last week, but the good news for Currie is that Adam Hall is back from a long-term injury and starts at 12. In the forwards, they are without Ewan Stewart and Rhys Davies this week so Jack Duncan gets a start in the back-row after a very impressive performance off the bench last week. Second-row Ally McCallum comes into the starting team following an injury and Josh O’Brien joins the squad after being unfortunate to miss out last week. Club captain Mike Vernel is back after missing last season through injury and those involved at the club can’t wait to see him back on the field.

What the coaches say –

“Being tagged relegation favourites without firing a shot in the Premiership is enough to send any team into their shells and I suspect we were no different last week against Marr which was reflected in our slow start. I was disappointed for, not in, the players for perhaps buying into that narrative in the first half.  We showed in the second half that we have enough composure and fire power to compete in the league when we back ourselves and we will look to build on that going into Currie this week. They are a well-orchestrated and efficient, particularly launching from set-piece, so we will need to be alert and alive on the defensive side of the ball if we are to find a way into the game and I am really excited to see what young Matty McMillan brings to the party in our attack. Our focus will be on continuing to change the script and making the progress we need to succeed in this league. Picking up our first league points away from home since December 2019 last week was a good first step but we can’t be satisfied with that, we have to continue to improve and look to take points away from each game, including this weekend …” – Derek O’Riordan (Musselburgh)

“I was really pleased with last week’s performance, but due to the time of year there were still lots of areas we could improve. It’s a totally different challenge away to Musselburgh this week who don’t lose many at home and showed some really good patches against Marr last week …” – Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains)

Verdict: Musselburgh perked up after a slow start at Marr last week and showed what they can do with ball in hand. They will want to secure a win here to mark Derek O’Riordan’s first home game in charge and while they have the firepower to cause Currie problems, the Chieftains should have enough across the 80 minutes to remain unbeaten.

Away win.

 

Edinburgh Accies v Marr

Venue: Raeburn Place @ 3pm

Teams –

Edinburgh Accies: K Gossman; M Wallace, R Kent, N Armstrong, M Wells; V Hart, M Love; C Imrie, C Black, C Taylor, C Bain, F Simpson, T Drennan, M Walker, R Campbell©. Subs: H Campbell, G Ratcliff, M Crowther, B Grainger, F Lindsay.

Marr: C Inglis; M O’Sulllivan, C Bickerstaff, N Calder, J Scott; C Sturgeon©, G Baird; G Reid, S Clelland, C Miller, D Andrew, C Young, B Jardine, C Steel, C Folan. Subs: A Acton, K McCulloch, J Evans, G Beckwith, E Light.

Key battle: Callum Black versus Scott Clelland.

Team news –

Edinburgh Accies: Captain Jamie Loomes, Ryan Montgomery and Euan McVie miss out through injury and Clem Lacour is unavailable. Neil Armstrong returns at centre with Vincent Hart moving to stand-off, Callum Black starts at hooker, Ruari Campbell returns at No 8 with Finlay Simpson moving into the second-row and Tom Drennan to blindside.  Campbell is skipper while George Ratcliff will debut for the club from the bench.

Marr: Greg Montgomery, Scott Bickerstaff, Angus Johnston, Ben Johnston, Curran McMillan and Fraser Grant are unavailable due to injury and holidays. They are expected to be available next week. Centre Conor Bickerstaff, second-row Cameron Young, hooker Scott Clelland and winger Matt O’Sullivan will all make their first league starts of the season.

What the coaches say –

“We welcome Premiership champions Marr to Raeburn Place this week and what a challenge that presents, the playing and coaching group are looking forward to it …” – Iain Berthinussen (Edinburgh Accies)

“After a good win at home to Musselburgh last week we face an extremely tough away fixture to Edinburgh Accies. With a number of players still unavailable the task is made even more difficult. We have prepared well and are looking forward to the challenge. Edinburgh Accies had a good home win last week and have a strong squad who will be looking to challenge for the title …” – Craig Redpath (Marr)

Verdict: This real is a cracking looking clash for week two and one that is hard to call. Given they are reigning champions, Marr may start as marginal favourites, but they are missing a few key players and Accies have key players of their own like Ruairi Campbell and Neil Armstrong back. If Accies can avoid a sluggish start like last week, they may just do it.

Home win.

 

Jed-Forest v Hawick

Venue: Riverside Park @ 3pm

Teams –

Jed-Forest: L Young; Gregor Young, R Marshall, P Ferreira, R Shirra-Gibb; D Buckley, J Mcgough; G Paxton, F Scott, P Ferreira, Garry Young, C Skeldon ©, D Wardrop, B Roff, M Atkinson. Subs: J Story, A Sweenie, G Law, A Bambrick, L Elder.

Hawick: B Donaldson; L Ferguson; A Mitchell, K Ford, R McKean; K Brunton, H Patterson; S Muir, M Carryer©, R Macleod, D Redpath, R Linton, S Graham, C Sutherland, J Linton. Subs: C Renwick, N Little, HJ Donaldson, Deaglan Lightfoot, L Gordon-Woolley.

Key battle: Dom Buckley versus Kyle Brunton.

Team news –

Jed-Forest: Lewis Young and twin brother Gregor are back at full-back and on the wing while there is a new-look half-back pairing in Jye Mcgough and Dom Buckley. Garry Young moves from back-row to second-row with Dan Wardrop and Blake Roff added to the pack.

Hawick: Bailey Donaldson comes in at full-back meaning Lewis Ferguson moves to the wing and Logan Gordon-Woolley to the bench. The rest of the starting XV is unchanged while fit again scrum-half Deaglan Lightfoot is added to the bench alongside teenage back-row Hughie Joe Donaldson who could debut having graduated from Hawick Youth Rugby.

What the coaches say –

“We are looking forward to what has the makings to be a great game. We have a few changes from the team that travelled to Currie. Matt Atkinson had a solid first game for Jed [in the back-row] and this week Blake Roff and Dan Wardrop are both back to team up with him …” – Andy Brown (Jed-Forest)

“After last week we were frustrated with our performance as we know we left a lot out on the park, but we are looking forward to putting a few things right this week and there’s not a better way than in a Border derby. Jed will be looking to get off the mark and with a few players back they’ll be looking for a win, so we need to focus on ourselves this week and get the small things right …” – Matty Douglas (Hawick)

Verdict: It was a tough start for Jed and new head coach Andy Brown last week at Malleny Park and they cannot be judged too harshly after that game. The Young brothers and back-rows Dan Wardrop and Blake Roff bring quality to the starting XV. Hawick were very frustrated to only draw against Selkirk and there may be a backlash here if they can get their backline moving in what will be a tight game.

Away win.

 

Heriot’s Blues v GHA

Venue: Goldenacre @ 3pm

Teams –

Heriot’s Blues: I Parkin; C Dineen, P Christie, O Quinn, C Robertson; D Martin©, G Wilson; J Lascelles, E Young, R Hutchison, L Gordon, M Keough, M Bruce, S Wallace, B Dineen. Subs: D Westwood, A Munro, C Smith, R Thomson, R Meldrum.

GHA: C Hyde; L Bardelli, G Little, S Derrick, A Caqusau; A Bogidrau, G Baird; C Williamson, A Falconer, M Fox, S Callaghan, A Barnett, J McEntegart, D Ewing©, L McCutcheon. Subs: D Sutton, R Hay, A Flynn, W Graham, A Spowart.

Key battle: Oisin Quinn versus Scott Derrick.

Team news –

Heriot’s Blues: Oisin Quinn comes in for Pete Burns at 12 while loosehead prop James Lascelles gets a start and Billy Dineen is at No 8. Clarke Smith comes into the squad on the bench.

GHA: There are few players unavailable this week which gives a great opportunity to others. Chris Hyde comes in at full-back and centre Glen Little, scrum-half George Baird, looshead prop Craig Williamson and second-row Adam Barnett all get their first starts of the season. Luca Bardelli moves from 15 to the wing and Scott Derrick, on the wing last week, takes up the 12 position. Daniel Sutton, Walker Graham and Andrew Spowart also get their first chance of the season as part of the bench.

What the coaches say –

“We felt we had a positive return to the Premiership against Hawks last week, contributing to an entertaining match, despite ending up on the losing side. This week we are delighted to be back at Goldenacre alongside our seconds and hope the squad can continue their upward curve and produce longer periods of the good stuff from last week …” – Phil Smith (Heriot’s Blues)

“It was a disappointing start to the season last week against Edinburgh Accies, however we did take some positives from the game which we have been working on this week at training. Accuracy and control is needed this week for 80 minutes and the boys are looking forward to the challenge that new boys Heriot’s bring to the Premiership …” – Trevor Carmichael (GHA)

Verdict: Heriot’s Blues were happier with their performance in defeat last week than GHA were, and they have managed to name a fairly settled squad while their opponents are without key players such as Josh Low and Charlie Lonergan. GHA’s experience at this level may be enough to get them over the line here, but if Heriots’ old heads can take this one by the scruff of the neck on home turf they may have enough in the tank.

Home win.

 

Selkirk v Glasgow Hawks

Venue: Philiphaugh @ 3pm

Teams –

Selkirk: M Reid; J Welsh, R Cottrell, A Grant-Suttie, H Clarkson; R Nixon, J Hamilton; L Pettie, B Riddell, Z Szwagrak, J Head, A Cochrane, A McColm, S McClymont, M Job. Subs: C Smyth, C Graur, C Turnbull, R Godsmark, L Ferguson,

Glasgow Hawks: A McLean; R Flett, C Ferrie, B McGroarty, R Darroch; G Cruikshanks, E Davey; M Downer, P Cairncross, G Strain, J McLean, S Leckey©, L Stewart, A Syme, O Baird. Subs: I Totic, A Al-Agilly, R Hart, S Greig, E Muirhead.

Key battle: Monroe Job versus Oscar Baird.

Team news –

Selkirk: Two changes to the starting team see the unavailable duo of James Bett and Fraser Anderson replaced by Bruce Riddell and Josh Welsh at hooker and on the wing respectively. Three changes on the bench could see Callum Smyth and Lachlan Ferguson make Premiership debuts while Ryan Godsmark returns tom the club after a 10 year absence which has included time playing for Belgium.

Glasgow Hawks: In the backs, Scotland under-18 stand-off Andy McLean is fit again and comes in to make his debut at full-back after impressing in training on Tuesday night. After being unavailable last week, centre Calum Ferrie will also make his debut with Matthew Stewart working over the weekend. In the pack, Tiaan Wright picked up a bang in last week’s match and is rested which allows Jack McLean to return to the squad after injury. Euan Muirhead is a youngster set to debut from the bench and he will be keen for game time after struggling with an injury throughout pre-season.

What the coaches say –

“We were very pleased with picking up points at Mansfield Park last week and it’s very important we build on that performance. Hawks will have their tails up after a great win against Heriot’s, so we know it’ll not be easy, but we are looking forward to the game …” – Scott Wight (Selkirk)

“A poor performance versus Heriot’s and not meeting the standards we have come to expect means there have been some honest words this week. Even with a lot of new young faces in the squad, we hope to have a performance we know we are capable of. Selkirk will be buzzing with their performance against Hawick after a difficult season last year and were unlucky not to come away with a historic win at Mansfield Park. Praise has to go to Scott Wight and the new coaching group for the work they have done in a short period of time. Hopefully the weather holds out as historically both teams have looked to play an exciting brand of rugby and it should hopefully be a good watch for the local crowd …” – Andy Hill (Glasgow Hawks)

Verdict: Selkirk drew last week and Hawks won, but by the sounds of it the Borderers were happier with their performance than the Balgray men. It is a big day for the visitors’ young full-back Andy McLean while Selkirk’s own crop of young talent, led by No 8 Monroe Job, will be excited to be playing at home. Selkirk need a win here to keep momentum going after a ‘stop start’ 2021-22 and they’ll be hard to beat at Philiphaugh.

Home win.


Fergus Scott calls time on a distinguished playing career

About Gary Heatly 303 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.