PHIL SMITH has named his side to face England Counties this Friday at Birmingham Moseley (kick-off 7.45pm). The team will be captained by Ayr number eight Pete McCallum.
There are 11 debutants in the 23 man squad, with a new half-back partnership in Melrose’s Murdo McAndrew and Boroughmuir’s Chris Laidlaw.
Melrose full-back Fraser Thomson is named as vice-captain, with Currie’s Harvey Elms and Boroughmuir’s Jordan Edmunds positioned on the right and left wings respectively.
Last season’s Scotland Club XV captain and Ayr centre, Ross Curle, partners Melrose debutant George Taylor of Melrose in midfield.
In the forwards, Steven Findlay of Glasgow Hawks and Steven Longwell of Ayr step out in the Club XV front-row for the first time and are joined by Michael Liness from Heriot’s at hooker.
Robert McAlpine of Ayr and Callum Marshall of Heriot’s make up the second-row formation with Marshall set to make his debut.
The back-row, led by McCallum, will see openside Grant Runciman pull on the Club XV shirt for the first time while Melrose teammate Iain Moody is named on the blindside flank.
“I have selected players who have been on genuine form in the BT Premiership and who are best representing the Scottish club game. We have some new faces joining the Club XV this season so have blended youth and experience across the match day squad for our visit to England Counties,” said Smith, who has led Heriot’s to a league followed by a league and cup double in the last two seasons.
“Last year’s squad enjoyed a terrific victory over the English [Counties] and we aim to replicate a similar performance when we face them on their home turf. The boys will compete as they do every week at club level in what will be an exciting contest between the two sides.”
Friday 24 February (kick-off 7.45pm)