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

Musselburgh host Currie Chieftains, Marr welcome Watsonians to Fullarton and Dundee are at home against Hawick

An all Premiership clash is on the cards at Stoneyhill with Musselburgh hosting Currie Chieftains. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
An all Premiership clash is on the cards at Stoneyhill with Musselburgh hosting Currie Chieftains. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THREE of the four Scottish Cup quarter-final ties take place on Saturday with Dundee Rugby and Watsonians the two National One sides left in the draw looking to cause a shock.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Accies have been given dispensation to postpone their last eight tie with Heriot’s Blues until April 13th because they have a group of 30 players in Dublin playing Wanderers FC in a game arranged before the cup schedule was announced.

That means the semi-finals will likely be split over April 13th and 20th, with the final on April 27th as part of Silver Saturday at the national stadium.


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The Lowdown –

Musselburgh v Currie Chieftains

Venue: Stoneyhill @ 2pm

Teams –

Musselburgh: O Craig; T Foley, B Heber, R Watt©, S Watt; D Owenson, F Call; R Hanning, R Mackie, E Bonthron, R Brown, M Badenhorst, J Longwell, M Crawford, P Bogie. Subs: D Hodge, L Knight, L Henderson, R Condie, M McCowan.

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; C Gray, DJ Innes, J Forbes©, R Daley; C Beckett, P Boyer; E Blair, R Stewart, G Carson, A Bain, K Steel, R Davies, A Fletcher, S Cardosi. Subs: R Vucago, N Thompson, K Borthwick, R Morrison, C Lessels, A Harley, M Laidlaw.

Key clash: Michael Badenhorst versus Ali Bain

Team news –

Musselburgh: Ross Hanning returns to the side having nursed an injury throughout the back end of the season and Ross Brown takes up a place in the second-row as an experiment. Loretto schoolboy Murray McCowan could become the second debutant in two weeks as head coach Derek O’Riordan continued to blood young talent and fringe players with one eye on next season.

Currie Chieftains: Euan Blair starts at loose-head and Rhys Davies is back from injury at blindside flanker. The only change in the backs is Cammy Gray on the wing in place of James McCaig who got a concussion against Ayr.

What the coaches say –

“What better way to spend Super Saturday than rolling the sleeves up and playing in a Scottish Cup quarter-final.  The hollowness is perhaps amplified by the fact that only half the sides in the final eight played their way into it, but that’s the sign of the times – club rugby, alive and well. Putting that to one side, we will enjoy the opportunity to play a Currie side who are peaking for the – long – business end of the season. It’s a free shot for us and we look forward to rolling the dice …” – Derek O’Riordan (Musselburgh)

“We fired in stops and starts last week against a good Ayr side, so it was pleasing to get the win. We will need to be better this week to get through to the semi-final of the Cup. Musselburgh will be well prepared and have talented players throughout their squad so we know the challenge that awaits us …” – Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains)

Verdict: Musselburgh will have taken confidence from a good run out versus GHA last week and always enjoy playing at home. Currie know they need to be more consistent than last week, but having Rhys Davies back in the back-row will help.

Away win.

 

 

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Marr v Watsonians

Venue: Fullarton Park @ 2.30pm

Teams –

Marr: G Montgomery; J Jacobson, G Paxton, C Bickerstaff©, S Bickerstaff; C Sturgeon, G Baird; A Rogers, B Jardine, W Farquhar, D Andrew, F Grant, B Johnston, C Young, A Apthorpe. Subs: N Wallace, G Dick, E Hamilton-Bulger, K Vallance, R Baird, J Scott, G Beckwith.

Watsonians: R Coetzer; F Jacobs, H Fisher, T Natiri, J Mitchell; L Burns, T Urquhart; J Law, M Pritchard, T Gracie, A McInnes, J Minty, B Robertson, A Steven, S Allison©. Subs: J Holligan, L Morris, C Murphy, E Llewelyn, JP Cutting, T Cumming, N Johnson.

Key clash: Alex Apthorpe versus Stuart Allison

Team news –

Marr: Gregor Paxton and Cameron Young come into the starting team with Blair Jardine moving to hooker. Neil Wallace, Graeme Dick and Gregor Beckwith have earned bench spots.

Watsonians: Captain Stuart Allison is back at No 8 meaning that Josh Minty moves into the second-row. Lewis Burns, Theo Natiri and Finlay Jacobs join the starting backline.

What the coaches say –

“We are looking forward to welcoming Watsonians to Fullarton. It will be a tough task for us after not getting a game versus Biggar, we can’t be complacent and have to execute our plan accurately. It’ll be exciting rugby as it’s knock-out rugby, so whoever produces on the day moves on and the other’s season is finished …” Kenny Diffenthal (Marr)

“We had quite a few changes going into last week’s game against Highland and the guys who stepped up did well. We were happy with our defence and the discipline we showed last time out and we know away to a strong Marr side we will need to be just as disciplined and bring even more intensity in defence. We will then have to take our opportunities in attack when they come. We have a number of guys away, but it gives other people a chance and we will give it everything we have got …” – Jason Riley (Watsonians)

Verdict: With Watsonians earning a spot in the extended Premiership next year there is an interesting sub-plot here while the Edinburgh side have been in good form. At home and with the Premiership title now out of reach, Marr will be focused and should have enough.

Home win.

 

 

Dundee Rugby v Hawick

Venue: Mayfield @ 3pm

Teams –

Dundee Rugby: F McKay; A Denver, C Nicol, S Kirk©, C O’Hagan; T Armstrong, G Harley; S Doig, K Wootton, E MacDonald, C Fraser, M Raitt, L Graham, F Overend, B Bekker. Subs: T Smith, T Hall, J Hicks, O Snodgrass, C Elliott.

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

Key clash: Stu Kirk versus Lee Armstrong

Team news –

Dundee Rugby: A number of players are in Dublin or working. Captain Sean Gauld has to sit out this week after a head knock. Stu Kirk leads the side while Brenton Beeker comes in at No 8. “I expect him to carry hard and tackle hard,” says head coach Alan Brown.

Hawick: Just two changes to the starting XV from the Premiership play-off semi-final a fortnight ago, Ross Graham and Connor Sutherland joining the pack in a strong looking squad.

What the coaches say –

“We have a number of guys away to Dublin and working, but we are still happy with the squad we are putting out. We know Hawick are good, in fact really good, but training this week was buzzing and we are excited to go up against the best and test ourselves. This could be Tommy Armstrong’s last game for us after he graduated as a doctor from Dundee University. Tommy has been influential for us at ten and I’m sure when he goes back to Ireland he will play at a top level. And Fraser McKay, who has been with us for nine years, is also stepping back to play a more relaxed form of rugby and is going to commit more to his job as a plumber. He has alsoo been great for us over his time and I’d like to thank both guys …” – Alan Brown (Dundee)

“We are looking forward to the trip to Dundee this weekend. We have prepared as well as we can with the disruption last week of no game, but we know how tough this week will be playing against a team we don’t know much about. Dundee have been picking up some good results as of late so we know how much of a test it will be, but we feel we have a squad who can push to retain a Scottish Cup …” – Matty Douglas (Hawick)

Verdict: This is a big ask for Dundee. Their players will enjoy the challenge, especially at home, but Hawick are pretty much at full strength and want to get the job done.

Away win.


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About Gary Heatly 455 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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