Super Series: Heriot’s, Watsonians, Southern Knights and Borougmuir Bears ready for last hurrah

Final round of matches of Super Series will be played on Saturday afternoon

Callum Anderson of Heriots is tackled by Jason Baggott of Watsonians during the Super Series Sprint regular season. Image: Malcolm Mackenzie
Callum Anderson of Heriots is tackled by Jason Baggott of Watsonians during the Super Series Sprint regular season. Image: Malcolm Mackenzie

GAMES 208 and 209 of the Super6/Series era take place on Saturday afternoon before we say goodbye to the part-time professional level of the men’s game that has been here since 2019.

In the Sprint third/fourth place play-off match Heriot’s host Watsonians at Goldenacre. When the two Edinburgh rivals met in the regular season back in April, Heriot’s came out of the blocks flying and eventually won 39-21.

The hosts lost to Ayrshire Bulls last weekend to miss out on a final place, and Matt Davidson returns from GB Sevens action to start at 13, replacing the injured Liam Richman. Jack Blain is unavailable and Sam Pecqueur is injured so Lewis Wells starts on one wing and is joined on the other by Seamus Smith with Sinjin Broad coming in at nine.


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Up front, Chris Keen comes in at loose-head for his first start of the season. Jamie Campbell returns in the second-row allowing Charlie Jupp to return to his favoured position at six. Ruairidh Leishman will captain the side in Richman’s absence from No 8.

Young Heriot’s Blues player Lachlan Forsyth is in line to make his debut From the bench as he provides emergency cover

“We would have obviously loved to have been in the final, however one of the positives to falling short last weekend is we get to play at Goldie against our nearest rivals in our final ever Super Series match,” Heriot’s head coach Ben Cairns said.

“It’s been a strange old week, but we have tried to enjoy being around each other as much as possible. All our focus has been on this weekend and ensuring we do everything we can to bow out of this competition with our heads held high.

“Last week was the first time we have been beaten at home by another Super Series side since this group came together in January 2023. We intend to show that that was a blip.

“Watsonians will come with a similar motivation – one last opportunity to go out and enjoy playing together – and I am sure they will be highly motivated to come to Goldie and head away with the final bragging rights.

“They have been one of the most consistent performers throughout Super Series and have shown that form over the last few weeks. We know it will be a much harder contest than round one was.”

Watsonians finished fourth after a bonus point ‘home’ win over Boroughmuir Bears last weekend at Meggetland.

Their backline is the same one that started that game while, in the pack, Matt Prichard and Cole Lamberton earn starts in the front-row with Oli Gordon coming into a reshaped back-row with regular skipper Neil Irvine-Hess, who took a knock last week, on the bench. Stand-off Jason Baggott is captain.

Head coach Fraser Brown said:  “This game brings down the curtain on not only our Sprint campaign, but also on our journey as a team and club in Scottish Rugby’s part-time professional tier.

“Although we are all immensely disappointed that, along with the other five clubs, we have not been granted the opportunity to continue to grow the competition and develop even more players and coaches across the country for professional rugby, we can be incredibly proud of what we have given to the game over the last five years and what  we have achieved as a club

“Our final match, against old rivals Heriot’s is a fitting way to end the competition. Last week against the Bears we put together our most complete performance of the campaign. We managed the areas of the pitch we played in and exercised patience and precision when necessary in the opponent’s 22.

“The growth of the team over the last few months has been excellent, and it  has been a real privilege to be a part of it. I’m certain we will go out on Saturday and leave absolutely nothing on the pitch.”

Heriot’s (v Watsonians in the third/fourth place play-off match in the Super Series Sprint at Goldenacre on Saturday @ 3pm): D King; S Smith, M Davidson, A Hunter, L Wells; C Townsend, S Broad; C Keen, M Liness, E McLaren, R Seydak, J Campbell, C Jupp, S Wallace, R Leishman©. Replacements: J Hill, J Scott, L Porter, P Spence, W Nelson, E McAra, L Forsyth, F Wood.

Watsonians: D Coetzer; L Macpherson, J Mitchell, L Berg, F Owsley; J Baggott©, F Burgess; C Davidson, M Prichard, C Lamberton, J Berrisford, J Parkinson, S Cecil, O Gordon, K Van Niekerk. Replacements: F Duraj, D Voas, B Bratton, A McInnes, N Irvine-Hess, M Scott, S Clark, R Coetzer.

Referee: Jonny Perriam

Key battle: Charlie Jupp versus Kwagga Van Niekerk

Prediction: Home advantage just enough to get Heriot’s over the line.

 

 

The fifth/sixth place play-off pits Southern Knights against Boroughmuir Bears at The Greenyards.

The Knights finished above the Bears in the regular standings on points difference and their only win during that phase came against the Meggetland men in April.

In the first round of games Boroughmuir defeated Glasgow Warriors A, but have not hit those heights since an that was their only win in the regular season.

There are a whole host of changes in the Knights 23 for this last hurrah with, among them, Callum Grieve starting at full-back, Poland international Zen Szwagrzak coming at tight-head and Marcus Rhodes wearing No 8.

“We have one last game at home which is great, Knights attack coach Scott Wight said.

“We’re looking forward to Saturday and one final push to make sure we sign off on the right note. We know what Boroughmuir will bring and we will have to be switched on from the start which has been a huge focus point for us the last few weeks.”

The Bears bring Hong Kong cap Callum McFeat Smith in to start at loose-head with Struan Whittaker joining the second-row and Jack Fisher moving to six.

The backline is unchanged while Scotland under-18 back-rower Harry Stewart (Kelvinside Academy/Biggar) is on the bench for this final game.

Head coach Graham Shiel said:  “Hibernation calls. There are mixed feelings as we go into the very last fixture for the Bears. Five years of work to build something in order to attempt to improve rugby in Scotland for young players aspiring to progress in the game, but unfortunately all of that comes to an end and what the future looks like is uncertain as things stand.

“Hopefully players and clubs can accelerate the domestic game to excel and find ways to stabilise and create a strong competitive competition which is suitable for aspiring professional players.

“Our final game away to Southern Knights affords an opportunity for players to express themselves. We want to play with ambition and accuracy where individuals can show growth and the group can put together a performance that they would wish to sign off on.

“Whilst we have achieved a lot over the Sprint, results and consistency have been hard to find. There were a lot of very positive elements to our performance last week, but unfortunately the periods where we were inaccurate cost us and Watsonians capitalised on.

“Southern Knights have managed to get the better of us over the last few games, so we know that we will need to again look to be at our best to compete if we want to end our existence with credit which is important for the players, the club and all who have represented the Bears over their time in Super 6/Series.

“Here’s hoping for a close and competitive game and something for all involved to be able to sign off on and then move on.”

 

Southern Knights (v Boroughmuir Bears in the third/fourth place play-off match in the Super Series Sprint at The Greenyards on Saturday @ 3pm): C Grieve; E McVicker, E Greenlaw, A Hall, J Civil; R Brett, C Davidson; J Dobie, F Scott, Z Szwagrzak, A Runciman©, A Ferrie, G Young, Y Fantini, M Rhodes. Replacements: M Brogan, A McGregor, D Gamble, C Crookshanks, W Ferrie, D Cockburn, P Ritchie, M Glen.

Boroughmuir Bears: E Muirhead; M Reid, D Munn, S Robeson©, R Stewart; G Paul, R Swan; C McFeat Smith, A Allen, M McGinley, M Laboda, S Whittaker, J Fisher, L Calder, D Davison. Replacements: Z Griffiths, C Anderson, Z Toerien, C Bain, H Stewart, R Cadzow, A Thom, R Kerr.

Referee: Rob McDowell

Key battle: Callum McFeat Smith versus Zen Szwagrzak

Prediction: Bears to take it if their unchanged backline fires


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About Gary Heatly 463 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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