HERIOT’S welcome Boroughmuir Bears to Goldenacre on Saturday afternoon knowing that they need a full 80-minute performance to get the desired result. They last played on September 9th when they looked in control against the Southern Knights with a 19-5 half-time lead, but the Borderers fought back to go 34-26 ahead going into the last few minutes, before two late tries sealed things 38-34 for the Edinburgh outfit.
Winning try scorer from that day Dan King has to continue to make do with a replacements spot this week, but Sam Pecqueur rotates in for Lewis Wells on the wing having impressed coming off the bench early in that last game, in an otherwise unchanged backline.
The pack sees Callum Anderson earning a start at No 8 with Ben Smith moving to six and Wallace Nelson moving to seven, while Sam Wallace has returned to the Heriot’s Blues Premiership set up.
Michael Liness starts at hooker meaning that Cammy Fenton is on the bench and loose-head prop Chris Keen is made captain. Also on the bench, John Lascelles steps up from the Blues to provide emergency prop cover and second-row/back-row Ruairidh Leishman returns having been out since round three of the competition.
“We were disappointed with our second half performance versus the Knights in our last match,” said Heriot’s head coach Ben Cairns. “Having started well we allowed them back into the game and then found ourselves in a big hole going into the last period of the match.
“However, it was very pleasing to see us find a way to win in the end. We’ve identified the reasons we relinquished control and will look to manage the game better on Saturday.
“The Bears will come to Goldenacre knowing they need a result to stay in the hunt for the play-offs. They are a really cohesive group and will scrap for everything, so our performance levels will have to be right up there if we are to keep our good run of form going.”
The sixth placed Bears head across Edinburgh having lost their last two games before last week’s bye-week and they need to add to their 10 points soon to stay in the top four play-off race.
They did play well in spells against Stirling Wolves last time out and, as a result, there are only two changes to the starting XV. Callum Ramm replaces Euan Muirhead at full-back and Trystan Andrews comes in for co-captain Craig Keddie at No 8. Zak Griffiths is added to the bench.
“Heriot’s are performing very well in this Championship and were comfortable winners in our round one fixture at Meggetland, so we are aiming for an improvement from that performance and result,” said Bears head coach Graham Shiel. “Goldenacre is a great surface and venue, but also tough to visit, so we know that we must be focused and committed to the challenge to compete.
“We have always struggled with Heriot’s throughout the Super6/Series. They have a strong forward pack and attacking ability throughout the squad which makes them a difficult team to play against.
“Finding ways into the game – and ways to then stay in the game – are important steps for us to develop against Heriot’s and more generally in the competition throughout the second round of games as we look to become more competitive.”
Heriot’s (versus Boroughmuir Bears at Goldenacre on Saturday at 3pm): L Richman; G Barber, M Davidson, G Hughes, S Pecqueur; R Jones, F Campbell; C Keen©, M Liness, E McLaren, R Seydak, J Campell, B Smith, W Nelson, C Anderson. Subs: C Fenton, J Lascelles, C Ramsay, D Hood, R Leishman, E McAra, D King, L Wells.
Boroughmuir Bears: C Ramm; M Cullen, A Thom, S Robeson©, J Jenkins; G Paul, K Barreto; I Carmichael, C Tait, M McGinley, M Loboda, J Fisher, K Westlake, S McGinley, T Andrews. Subs: A Allen, C McFeat Smith, L Alessandri, Z Griffiths, C Keddie©, J Beveridge, A McLean, E Muirhead.
Referee: David Sutherland
Key battle: Fin Campbell versus Kaleem Barreto
Verdict: When the sides met back in late July in week one of the season, Heriot’s came out on top 51-14. The Bears are an improved outfit now, but the second half scare versus the Knights a fortnight ago and a rest last weekend will mean Heriot’s are likely to be too strong here.
ONE of the Southern Knights two wins to date in the competition came against the Future XV and they will be out to do the double in the later match at The Greenyards on Saturday.
The Knights opening day victory over the youngsters was not easy by any means, indeed they could have lost it but for a late missed kick, so that will sharpen their minds here as they look to keep their play-off bid going.
In their last two games, the fifth placed Knights have beaten Stirling Wolves and came so close to getting the better of Heriot’s, so they will want to kick on now.
An injury to Dan Gamble gives Alex Dodds a starting opportunity and they bring in Finn Barry from Melrose to sit on the bench.
Hamish Bentley and Adam Hall pair up in the centres while Harris Rutherford gets a well deserved first start at 10 with captain Gregor McNeish a replacement.
Archie Hosking, the former Exeter University/Chiefs player, has joined from Souths in Australia and is on the bench along with youngster Harry Bone.
“We’ve had some really honest conversations this week as a group and as a coaching team and we know from the last block of matches and the performances that we’ve put in what we are capable of,” said Knights head coach Alan Tait. “Our attacking points average shows that but we need to balance that out with the tries we are conceding and the manner we are letting teams back into games.
“We are really excited about welcoming the Future XV on Saturday. We know the quality through their squad and have seen the type of rugby they like to play – exciting and fast paced.
“It’s been fantastic to see them in this competition and know how hard it will be to win here as they’ll be fighting hard for their first victory of the Championship.”
The seventh placed Future XV are still winless in their debut campaign, but they put in one of their best showings so far a fortnight ago and pushed Watsonians all the way before eventually going down 34-21 at Myreside.
In the backs, Finn Douglas comes in on the wing so Kerr Johnston shifts to outside-centre and Matthew Urwin gets a go at 10.
Scotland under-20 caps Robbie Deans and Jerry Blyth-Lafferty come into the front-row, Ruaraidh Hart comes into the second-row and the back-row is the same as the last outing. Euan Lee, Jake Shearer and Hector Patterson join the bench. Ryan Burke is injured and Ben Salmon is with Glasgow Warriors.
“We all agreed after the Watsonians game that we are starting to develop our own identity as a team and that is what we will look to build on this Saturday against a Knights side who have shown some very impressive performances over the past few rounds,” said Future XV co-coach Scott Forrest.
“We know the Knights want to play an exciting brand of rugby and when the two teams met in round one it produced some outstanding attacking rugby – something we hope will be on show again this Saturday.”
Southern Knights (versus Future XV at The Greenyards on Saturday at 5pm): D Crawford; A Cross, H Bentley, A Hall, C Barrett; H Rutherford, C Bell; C Greer, C Thunder, A Dodds, G Young, A Ferrie, M Job, J Rutherford, S Derrick. Subs: L Thompson, F Barry, T Logan, H Borthwick, A Hosking, H Bone, G McNeish©, P Anderson.
Future XV: J Hocking; F Douglas, K Johnston, C Ferrie, A Caqusau; M Urwin, F Burgess; R Deans, J Blyth-Lafferty, C Norrie, C Nolan, R Hart, C Smyth, F Douglas, T Currie©. Substitutes: E Lee, J Shearer, R Cromar, L Fergusson, A Bogidrau, H Patterson, I Coates, F Watson.
Referee: Mike Adamson
Key battle: Harris Rutherford versus Matthew Urwin
Verdict: Both of these sides have made improvements since they last met back in late July. It will still hurt the Future XV that they lost that one 39-38 and now they have been together longer as a group they will really look to take things to the Knights. It should be an entertaining game, but if the Knights can replicate their form from their last home game versus the Wolves and their second half showing against Heriot’s, then they should be too strong here.