Super Series Friday 6th October Preview: Ayrshire Bulls v Southern Knights

Table-toppers are boosted by the return of Craig Miller and Luca Bardelli from pro team action

Ayrshire Bulls face Southern Knights at Millbrae on Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson -
Ayrshire Bulls face Southern Knights at Millbrae on Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson - Super 6 Southern Knights v Ayrshire Bulls Photo credit should read: © Craig Watson Craig Watson, 07479748060

AFTER playing in pre-season friendlies for Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors respectively last week, Craig Miller and Luca Bardelli will return to Super Series duty for the Ayrshire Bulls on Friday evening against the Southern Knights at Millbrae.

The Bulls go into their ninth regular season fixture against the Borderers top of the table by a point after last Saturday’s emphatic 45-17 bonus point win over Stirling Wolves.

Rory Jackson, Ryan Sweeney and Fergus Johnston are injured so Oscar Baird starts in the second-row, Lewis McNamara is in the back-row and Ben Frame, who could debut at this level, is on the bench for the Bulls. Andrew Nimmo starts at loose-head with Jamie Drummond dropping to the replacements.

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“Southern Knights are fighting for a place in the play-offs and will be desperate for a win after narrowly losing out to Watsonians last week,” said Bulls head coach Pat MacArthur. “They are a team that has shown improvement week by week and are capable of scoring tries from anywhere.

“We will look to build on the result from last week and players know the Millbrae crowd will expect nothing less than their best.”

Knights  are currently in the last of those four play-off spots after taking a losing bonus point from their 14-7 defeat to Watsonians last Saturday.

Dam Gamble, the former Edinburgh prop, is back from injury and starts at tight-head while Johnny Rutherford comes into the back-row alongside Monroe Job and Archie Hosking.

Garry Young is injured while on the bench, Biggar prop Donald Voas is brought in as cover and Edinburgh’s Academy prospect Finlay Burgess is included. Matt Reid, Ben Weir and Hamish Bentley also join the replacements.

“It’s another big test for the players through at Ayr,” said Knights head coach Alan Tait. “We had a real physical battle against Watsonians and we’ve picked up a few casualties. The boys stood up and we were unlucky to not get more from the game so we’ve emphasised the importance of taking our chances when they are presented and being a bit more clinical in the final third.

“We discussed matching the Bulls up front and believe we’ve got the pack to be able to do that and cause them issues at set piece time, so I know the players are looking forward to the confrontation and battle in the forwards.

“Archie Hosking gets a run at No 8 and I’m really looking forward to the head-to-head between him and Blair Macpherson. Archie has been fantastic for us since arriving and is starting to build up his match fitness.”


Ayrshire Bulls (versus Southern Knights at Millbrae on Friday at 7.35pm): C Hyde; T Glendinning, C Elliot, B Beattie, L Bardelli; B Roderick-Evans, R Cullen; A Nimmo, A McGuire, C Miller, E Bloodworth, O Baird, L McNamara, T Brown, B Macpherson©. Subs: R Tanner, W Farquhar, C Henderson, E Hamilton-Bulger, J Drummond, B Frame, C Townsend, A Bogidrau.

Southern Knights: D Crawford; A Cross, P Anderson, A Hall, C Barrett; G McNeish©, C Bell; J Dobie, L Thompson, D Gamble, A Ferrie, T Nwosu-Hope, M Job, J Rutherford, A Hosking. Subs: C Thunder, C Greer, D Voas, M Reid, B Weir, F Burgess, H Rutherford, H Bentley.

Referee: Ruairidh Campbell


Key battle: Luca Bardelli versus Aidan Cross.


Verdict: The Bulls scored 45 points last time out against the Wolves to show that they are back on track after the previous week’s defeat to Watsonians. Having Craig Miller and Luca Bardelli back is important for them and while the Knights are a far more competitive side now than during the Sprint competition earlier in the year, it is hard to see past a Bulls triumph.

Home win.

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About Gary Heatly 456 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.