ROB CHRYSTIE has 16 new signings in his 32-man Southern Knights squad for the 2021 Super6 campaign, which kicks off for the Borderers with a trip to Bridgehaugh to take on Stirling County this coming Saturday afternoon [kick-off 3pm].
He has also retained a core of Greenyards stalwarts as the backbone of the side such as captain Craig Jackson, scrum-half Murdo McAndrew, back-rows Iain Moody and Neil Irvine-Hess, second-rows James Head and Angus Runciman, and loose-head prop Grant Shiells,
It is a particularly big campaign for Jackson, who was also captain during the inaugural Super6 campaign, but missed all 10 rounds before lockdown because of a pectoral injury.
“I’m delighted to captain the Southern Knights for a second season, although hopefully I’ll be able to provide more leadership from on the pitch this time,” said the experienced utility back.
“There are some really exciting young players who have come into the squad and really bought into what being a Southern Knight is all about.
“As a playing group, we are raring to go and can’t wait to get up to Bridgehaugh on Saturday and show what this group can do on the pitch.”
Nyle Godsmark returns to Melrose after earning 31 Scotland 7s caps, while 18-year-old full-back Keiran Clark, who impressed in the Borders sevens circuit pre lockdown and was part of the Scotland U20 extended Six Nations squad earlier this year, is one of several players making the step-up to Super6.
Former Hawick and Scotland Club XV centre Andrew Mitchell has also joined the franchise, as has his Mansfield Park team-mate from recent seasons second-row Daniel Suddon, and Jason Baggott returns to the Greenyards following his spell on the books at Edinburgh.
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Chrystie has bolstered his front-row options with the recruitment of a couple of former Scotland U20 props. Mak Wilson, originally from Duns, returns to The Greenyards on a loan spell from Harlequins, where he is in the academy programme, and Euan McLaren has returned to Scotland after a season playing in Hong Kong with Kowloon RFC.
Back-rows Allan Ferrie and Harry Borthwick have joined from Newton Stewart and Gala, respectively.
Chrystie has also brought on board two assistant coaches in former Edinburgh and Scotland caps Ross Ford (forwards and S&C) and Lewis Carmichael (line-outs and kick-off reception).
“The squad have had a tough 18 months, but they are a resilient team,” said Chrystie. “In the first season of FOSROC Super6 we took a few games to get going, a lot of this squad were involved then, so they now know the level that they need to play at to win.
“I’m delighted that we’re able to offer the opportunity for so many players from right across the Borders to play in the part-time professional league. It will give them the chance to play at that next level before crossing that bridge to the professional game.
“We’re building something special with this squad, you could see that in the ‘friendly’ we had with Ayrshire Bulls at the weekend. We are looking forward to seeing how hard and far we can push this young exciting squad.”
Southern Knights squad to compete in the 2021 FOSROC Super6 –
Forwards: Grant Shiells, Russell Anderson, Euan McLaren, James Head, Mak Wilson, Calum Crookshanks, Fraser Renwick, Shaun Gunn, Dalton Redpath, Daniel Suddon, Allan Ferrie, Angus Runciman, Ruaridh Knott, Neil Irvine-Hess, Iain Moody, Harry Borthwick, Patrick Harrison*, Harri Morris*.
Backs: Keiran Clark, Patrick Anderson, Joe Jenkins, Craig Jackson©, Jacob Henry*, Billy Vilikesa Wara, Jason Baggott, Murdo McAndrew, Nathan Sweeney*, Cammy Scott*, Nyle Godsmark
Andrew Mitchell, Iain Sim, Cameron Jones
*FOSROC Contracted Academy Player