Scottish Cup quarter-final and semi-final preview: runners, riders and verdict

Hawick and Currie Chieftains shoot-out in last four while Edinburgh Accies and Heriot's Blues play delayed last eight clash

Hawick host Currie Chieftains at the semi-final stage of the Scottish Cup this weekend. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Hawick host Currie Chieftains at the semi-final stage of the Scottish Cup this weekend. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

AFTER three weeks of Inter-District Championship rugby, club action returns and there are two big Scottish Cup matches on Saturday.

In a delayed quarter-final, Edinburgh Accies welcome capital rivals Heriot’s Blues to Raeburn Place, with the winner earning the right to host Marr in the semi-final on April 20th and, having finished seventh and fifth respectively in the Premiership just four points apart, this should be a close one.

Heriot’s will draw confidence from having won the first league game between the teams this term 24-18 in September before they completed the double 31-17 in November, while Accies – needless to say – will have revenge on their mind.


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Meanwhile, it is semi-final time on the other side of the draw at Mansfield Park. with Cup holders Hawick hosting Currie Chieftains.

It has been a turbulent week for the Borderers with the coaching team changing, but they have not lost on home turf since 2019.

The teams will meet at the same venue in the Premiership final on May 4th too and, in the regular season, Hawick won 35-13 in September and then the sides drew 24-24 in January.

 

 

The Lowdown –

Edinburgh Accies v Heriot’s Blues

Venue: Raeburn Place @ 2pm

Teams –

Edinburgh Accies: R Chalmers; G Welsh, R Kent, N Armstrong©, M Wallace; B Appleson, P Ritchie; C Imrie, C Davies, C Crookshanks, J Mills, S Whittaker, G Napier, A Wood, J Sole. Subs: F McAslan, A Hain, T Drennan, K Slingsby, R Cadzow, C Allan, F MacNeill.

Heriot’s Blues: P Christie; H Hitchens, R Jones, K Kutsuna, C Meager; L Townsend, G Wilson; A Munro, R Jackson, S Cessford, P Spence, M Keough, J Hill, I Hill, A Johnston©. Subs: F Thomas, B Dineen, J Lascelles, C Bell, E Moore, A Hunter, O Quinn.

Key battle: Ben Appleson versus Luke Townsend

Team news –

Edinburgh Accies: A settled squad with Patrick Ritchie returning to the starting XV at scrum-half in the only change from the last round game versus Glasgow Hawks. Arran Hain, Kieran Slingsby and Finlay MacNeill come onto the extended bench.

Heriot’s Blues: “Having not played for eight weeks, this feels like the first selection of the season,” says head coach Phil Smith.

What the coaches say –

“We welcome Heriot’s to Raeburn Place for this Scottish Cup quarter-final, an eagerly anticipated match against our local rivals who have defeated us twice in the league this season …” – Iain Berthinussen (Edinburgh Accies)

“Firstly, in what has become the equivalent to our third off-season [during 2023-24], the eight-week block has seen the players be outstanding in their motivation and application and they should be applauded for this. Regarding Saturday, my first hope is the players remember to run forward and pass back – if they do, the next aim will be to apply as much pressure on Accies as we can. The motivation is simple, the squad is 80 minutes away from a semi-final, and 160 minutes away from the chance to play at Murrayfield …” – Phil Smith (Heriot’s Blues)

Verdict: Accies have not played since March 9th – five weeks – and Heriot’s have not played for two months, so there may be some rust in the early exchanges. Some of the players have been on district duty and these guys will be key to the tempo of the game. Heriot’s have won twice versus Accies this season, but home advantage may just get the latter over the line this time.

Home win.

 

 

Hawick v Currie Chieftains

Venue: Mayfield @ 3pm

Teams –

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

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; J McCaig, DJ Innes, J Forbes©, R Daley; C Beckett, P Boyer; T Jeffrey, R Stewart, G Carson, A Bain, C West, R Davies, A Fletcher, S Cardosi. Subs: C Anderson, R Vucago, A McCallum, K Steel, G Christie, C Gray, C Taylor.

Key clash: Jae Linton versus Sam Cardosi

Team news –

Hawick: One change from the quarter-final starting XV versus Dundee Rugby with Nicky Little in for Ross Graham at tight-head. Tom Hope, Fraser Wilson and Bailey Donaldson join the bench.

Currie Chieftains: Rhys Davies and Courtney West come back into the starting pack and the squad is boosted by the return of Chris Anderson, Ali McCallum and Gregor Christie on the bench.

What the coaches say –

“It has been excellent to have the full playing group back together this week after the Inter-District Championship. It was good to see a number of boys win with The South and it is good to have their experience back. We have prepared well, we know that the games against Currie in recent years have been great games and we expect another hard fought encounter this time around …” – Graham Hogg (Hawick)

“Mansfield is a tough place to win, but we’ve had plenty practice of late and are looking forward to having another crack at the champions. Even though we have not played for a few weeks, most of the players have been involved in the Inter-District Championship with Edinburgh and the Caledonia Reds, and the others have trained well to maintain their fitness levels and sharpness. It was great to get back together at Malleny this week, we have prepared well and are confident in our ability to get the win and progress to Murrayfield …” – Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains)

Verdict: There is no doubt it has been a challenging time for Hawick with head coach Matty Douglas and forwards coach Lewis Bertram leaving, and interim head coach Graham Hogg now heading things up assisted by Scott Macleod and Roddy Deans. The key for the players will be to focus on the game and not everything else going on around it while Currie will be out to take advantage of any uncertainty. Matches between these two in the last couple of seasons rarely disappoint and it’ll be tight, but Hawick’s proud home record may just stay intact.

Home win.


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About Gary Heatly 462 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.

23 Comments

  1. Fascinating insights from GRob, Willieweehead and AngryGala2. Essentially a rugby news site that happens to allow comments should let anyone saying anything they want. To add to things then provide detailed moderation.

    Perhaps you could share how you support OSL? Outside of your delightful comments obvs.

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    • Good babble Dom Ward , and for the English speakers amongst us ??
      I think Mr Barnes has been fiddling the thumbs down again , not for the first time.. , the comment went from no thumbs down to 25 within about 3 minutes. I suppose if he can’t find justification to delete he just finds an alternative mechanism to undermine contributors comments … mature , really mature .

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      • G-Rob,

        This is really simple. A couple of comments sections on a certain topic have got very heated in recent weeks and a decision was made after discussion with individuals who were being targeted on BOTH sides of the debate that the thread should be closed down and ALL comments deleted to ensure fairness.

        I don’t presume to know whether you have ever been responsible for moderating a comments thread but my experience is that finding the line between which comments are fair and accurate and which are not is much harder than you seem to think. For example, a comment could seem fair until it emerges that its whole premise is based on something which isn’t true, in which case it can very quickly become totally unreasonable, hurtful and potentially libellous. The Offside Line was not able to verify all the comments so the decision to delete all of them was deemed to be a reasonable and fair response. This is not unusual and, in fact, regularly happens on The Times and other national newspaper websites. It has also happened on several previous occasions on this website.

        Also keep in mind that you have been free to vent your displeasure at this policy without any ‘censorship’ by TOL. I have no doubt that the situation in Hawick could come up again on another thread and I would like to think that if it does then people will be able to show enough restraint that we don’t have to take extreme action like closing the comments section and deleting comments. But we absolutely reserve the right to do so if we – as the people responsible and liable for the content on this site – believe that is the right thing to do.

        DB

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    • To be clear Dom – i agree that any abusive comments should not be tolerated and be taken down – That was not my initial understanding of the situation and take back part of my statement – however, did all the comments which were not abusive need to be removed?

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  2. Angry gala ( is there another type?), rob g ( rory bannerman here, no name hiding) why don’t you set up your own website and put whatever you want on it?
    OSL remains a magnificent website that produces excellent content in the gap left by the sru’s derogation of duty.
    OSL allows comment and debate , but like any responsible media outlet it has to use common sense and protect the sensible and the vulnerable from harmful , misinformed diatribes.
    There was a fair period available to comment which has now ended, like all good things……
    Now how about you comment on something positive?
    Well done David Barnes

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    • Mr Bannerman on cue to deliver the 30 pieces of silver from Hawick to TOL , job well done Mr Barnes , don’t worry though Hawick will dig themselves another hole soon enough , it’s inevitable ….
      Mr Bannerman , you seem obsessed with finding out contributors real names , are you looking to “send the boys round “ 😉
      I agree that TOL is a useful forum with some interesting views expressed , it is significantly devalued however when the editors remove well thought out comments , it is absolutely correct to remove abuse but not well thought out , considered contributions.
      As I alluded there has been a very obvious attempt to restrict interaction in this interesting topic with both the “closed “ initial post and removed comments on the subsequent post .

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    • Well said Rory could not have but it any better and David and his OSL great coverage all season and every season keep up the good work

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    • Well said Rory could not have said it any better myself and David and his OSL team great coverage all season every season keep up the good work Angry gala and Rob g see you at Murryfield come on the green machine

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  3. Agee GRob! Censorship and bias towards certain viewpoints is never the answer from what is supposed to be a neutral forum. It appears to be occurring more often recently.

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  4. Please have some coverage of the National League semi finals happening on the 20th April in the next week.

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  5. Disgraceful that TOL turned off and actually deleted comments on the Hawick issue which was one of the most interesting developments in Scottish rugby this year. If you are going to open up a site that encourages feedback and comments , it is then down right nonsense that those responsible for the site take it upon themselves to act as judge and jury and remove comments , many of which were well thought through and relevant. By all means take out instances of personal abuse but there is no need at all to have removed all the comments on this topic. These actions really devalue this forum in that we all have the right to an opinion but it appears that if that opinion does not correlate with the editors of TOL it will be removed.
    Behaviour belonging in the dark ages from well behind the iron curtain. An explanation about why these actions were taken would be appropriate.
    Patrons of the site are very likely to be more reserved on putting time and effort into comments if they think they are going to be deleted.
    Bare in mind as well that many of those making comments have been asked for a financial contribution towards TOL for its running costs , they might find that in future remuneration is reduced if the opinions of its patrons are devalued in such a dispicable and underhand manner.
    Very poor show TOL ….

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    • I take it you read some of the comments before they were closed down?

      As responsible publishers of content, OSL have a responsibility to manage comments. My experience of this site, is that happens very rarely and is a considered response to comments that cross the line. My view is that line was crossed several days ago.

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      • David Barnes you are belittling people in your replies, one for posting without their full name…on a thread where you’ve explained that you won’t stand for people bullying or abusing people. Not a good look IMHO, but hey, you’re the boss I guess you can say what you like.

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    • G Rob,

      We’re extremely disappointed with this comment.

      The comments section on the articles under discussion here were closed and deleted once hurtful, unsubstantiated and potentially actionable words were directed towards individuals on both sides of the debate. The decision was taken after the harmful content was discussed with a number of key individuals who found themselves in the firing line, who rightly felt unfairly characterised. We take our responsibility to mental wellbeing very seriously and respect individuals’ right to be protected from online abuse.

      Unfortunately, some of the reasonable and valuable comments which were not personal and had merit had to go as well. It’s a difficult line to draw, which requires significant and increasing resource from this website to manage. In this instance the decision was made that the tone and content of the comments had deteriorated to a point where, in our opinion, a line had to be drawn.

      Sincerely,

      David Barnes

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      • David Barnes

        Sorry but that’s tripe . There has been a deliberate attempt to restrict comments and interaction on this topic right from the off. The first post on this topic was up for about a week yet inexplicably no comments were able to be submitted. This is the first time I had seen this restriction on this forum and it is out of step when compared to all other posts. We then encounter the second issue when many well thought out comments were deleted when the post was reposted and enabled for comments. The decision to take all comments down was very wrong , I read the majority and there were very few that crossed the line. It should have been possible to remove the more inappropriate posts whilst keeping the valid points many were making. It’s not a difficult line to draw , it was abundantly clear many of the posts made good points and were not offensive so again the policy to remove should not have encompassed all comments.
        There is little point running a forum like this if you are going to censor comments en bloc just because a few miss the mark.
        I think it’s a bit hypocritical at best to use the mental health as an excuse when the actions of some of those within this debacle at Hawick clearly had little respect for anyone’s mental health.
        This Hawick coaching issue has been managed very differently to other topics without any explanation why this would be the case. Unless Mr Barnes can give a rational explanation as to why no comments were permitted for the first week after the Hawick post was raised on the forum??
        Many ended up having to comment on this topic via other posts on the forum.
        I am indifferent to your “disappointment” , your position just is not consistent as there have been plenty other posts where comments have crossed the line but have remained in place.

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        • Thank you for expressing your opinion, G-Rob.

          Be assured that we’ll give it all the consideration it deserves.

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      • Online personal abuse is not acceptable however, we are not children who need keeping safe or protected. Mental health seems to the buzzzzzzzzzzzword oh this century. Grow up and build resilience.

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        • Are you genuinely oblivious to the irony of you commenting on how people should be more resilient in the face of online abuse and then not having the backbone to put your own full name to your tough guy opinions?

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  6. Hawick have to win this .
    To silence all the negativity going round about a certain situation

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    • The situation that strangely no one is allowed to comment about on here? (At least not on the relevant stories).

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      • Yup , 30 pieces of silver winging its way from Hawick RFC to the TOL editorial team for the removal of the posts on the Hawick coaching post …..
        TOL better make the most of it because they won’t get many financial contributions from patrons if they disrespect the opinions of the forum in this way …

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      • Having read David’s post above I withdraw my comment. I hadn’t realised that abusive comments had caused the closure.

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Comments are closed.