Super Series preview: Boroughmuir Bears and Future XV dig deep one more time

Meggetland stalwart Craig Keddie to play his last game in semi-pro rugby

Craig Keddie will play his last Boroughmuir Bears match against the Future XV tomorrow night. Image: Fred Palmer
Craig Keddie will play his last Boroughmuir Bears match against the Future XV tomorrow night. Image: Fred Palmer

BOROUGHMUIR BEARS and the Future XV will dig deep to raise themselves for one last game at the end of tough Super Series Championship campaigns for both sides. They will each, however, draw motivation from the knowledge that tomorrow [Friday] night’s re-arranged round nine clash at Meggetland represents a golden opportunity for both sides to achieve a morale-boosting win which they can look to build upon during the winter break.

For the home side, providing club stalwart and co-captain Craig Keddie with a suitable send-off in his last game for the franchise will also be a big performance driver.

The Bears have lost their last seven games on the bounce, and the strain on Graham Shiel‘s squad is highlighted by the selection of three ’emergency cover players’ on the bench in the shape of back-up tight-head Callum MacGregor (Strathclyde University/Boroughmuir RFC), back-five forward Liam Habib (Boroughmuir RFC) and scrum-half Brodie Clark (Boroughmuir RFC).


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“Last game for the Bears in 2023 and we hope to be able to end the season with a better showing,” said Shiel. “There have been a number of changes to the group this week due to injuries and availability, so another tough test lies ahead. There have been signs of improvement in patches over this season, but we have lacked consistency and accuracy to be able to compete consistently in the competition.

“The Future XV have had a similarly challenging season but have managed to find ways to remain competitive and use their opportunities to gain valuable preparation and experience prior to embarking on the next part of their journey in the 2024 U20 Six Nations. With the Bears having a young squad tomorrow, it will see 30 U20 players on show!

“Whilst neither of the teams tomorrow are in a position to progress in the competition, both will be looking to play an expansive game, so hopefully there will be some good rugby on view tomorrow evening under the lights at Meggetland.

“The Future XV contains some very talented young players who have had to transition into adult rugby at a high level, which has been tough. But as we all know, the journey young players follow is very rarely smooth, so there has been important learning taking place which will prepare them for their rugby careers ahead, whatever that may hold.”

Meanwhile, Robbie Deans comes into start at loosehead for the Future XV and Ollie Duncan starts at No. 8 in place of the injured Tom Currie. In the backs, Johnny Ventesei makes his first start of the season at 13 and Kerr Johnston and Jack Hocking both return to the starting 15 after being rotated last weekend.

On the bench, Kelso prop Ashton Asante, Melrose second-row Ben Weir and Southern Knights back-row Monroe Job are all set to make their first appearances for the Future XV this season.

“We were disappointed in large parts of our performance against Watsonians last weekend [when] we created a lot of opportunities and played the game in the right areas but ultimately our execution let us down,” said co-coach Scott Forrest. “We know we will have to have one of our best performances of the season to compete against a Bears team who will be determined to finish their campaign with a win.”

 

Teams –

Boroughmuir Bears (versus Future XVat Meggetland on friday at 5pm): E Muirhead; M Cullen, R Kerr, S Robeson©, C Ramm; A McLean, J Beveridge; C McFeat Smith, C Tait, M McGinley, J Fisher, K Westlake, C Keddie©,  S McGinley, T Andrews. Substitutes: Z Griffiths, L Alessandri, C MacGregor, A Allen, L Habib, B Clark, G Paul, A Thom.

Future XV: J Hocking; K Johnston, J Ventesei, K Yule, F Douglas; M Urwin©, F Burgess; R Deans, J Blyth-Lafferty, O Blyth-Lafferty, R Burke, R Hart, C Nolan, Freddy Douglas, O Duncan. Substitues: M Brogan, T Batnavala, C Norrie, A Asante, B Weir, M Job, A Casqusau, F Watson.

Referee: Finlay Brown

 

Key battle: Andy McLean versus Matthew Urwin

 

Verdict: Once more unto the breach, dear friends! Home advantage, experience, squad depth and sending Craig Keddie off with a big ‘W’ – the stars are aligned for Bears to break their seven match losing streak. For the Future XV, that will mean a dirty dozen defeats in this debut Super Series campaign … but, of course, we’ll see the benefits in the U20s Six Nations!

Home win.


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About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.