Super Series round five preview: Ayrshire Bulls v Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ and Watsonians v Edinburgh ‘A’

Richie Simpson returns to Glasgow Warriors colours to face the Ayrshire Bulls side he starred for last weekend

Richie Simpson will face the Ayrshire Bulls team he starred for last weekend in Glasgow Warriors colours this Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Richie Simpson will face the Ayrshire Bulls team he starred for last weekend in Glasgow Warriors colours this Friday night. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

AFTER his man-of-the-match performance in Ayrshire Bulls’ big win over Southern Knights last weekend, Richie Simpson will now try to orchestrate the Millbrae side’s first defeat of the campaign having been picked to play for Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ against the Super Series Sprint table-toppers in tomorrow [Friday] night’s round five clash.

The 21-year-old playmaker – who looked very much like the heir apparent to Finn Russell –  is on a partnership contract between Bulls and Warriors with the pro side getting first call on his services, meaning David McCartney takes over the No 10 jersey for the hosts this weekend.

Elsewhere in the Bulls line-up, the talismanic Blair Macpherson returns to captain the side from No 8 in place of the injured Ryan Sweeney after starting last weekend’s game on the bench, Rory Jackson returns in the second-row in place of the benched Oscar Baird, and Jamie Drummond and James Malcolm are back at loose-head prop and hooker respectively, with head coach Pat MacArthur selecting what looks like his strongest available pack.


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Behind the scrum, Jamie Shedden moves from wing to outside centre in place of the injured Andy Stirrat, with Marcus Kershaw going Luca Bardelli and Thomas Glendinning in a shuffled back-three.

“Friday nights at Millbrae are always special, but when you add the challenge of a full-time professional team, it becomes even more exciting,” said MacArthur. “Glasgow bring a great blend of youth and experience, with players eager to make their mark. Our focus will remain on ourselves, ensuring we make the right decisions in the right areas of the field. Key priorities will be maintaining possession, avoiding unnecessary turnovers, and capitalizing on our scoring opportunities.”

After calling off their last match against Stirling Wolves due to a lack of front-row options, Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ are now able to select two international prop (Allan Dell and Murphy Walker) and an international hooker (Grant Stewart) on the bench, providing back-up to the youthful triumvirate of Callum Smyth, Angus Fraser and Callum Norrie.

David Andrew of Marr and Mark McCormack of Newton Stewart provide bench cover to the back-five after impressing during the recent Inter-District Championship.

“Heading up to Millbrae is an excellent opportunity for some of our younger players to test themselves against the most physical team in the league,” said Warriors ‘A’ coach Pete Horne. “It’s been an excellent week’s training and I’m really excited to see how we stand up to the physicality and impose our game. Bulls are flying this season and sit top of the league so I’m sure the home support will be out in force helping to make it a brilliant occasion for the players on Friday night.”

 

Ayrshire Bulls (v Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ in round five of Super Series Sprint at Millbrae on Friday @ 7.35pm): M Kershaw; T Glendinning, J Shedden, R Beattie, l Bardelli; D McCartney, R Cullen; J Drummond, J Malcolm, C Henderson, E Bloodworth, R Jackson, L McNamara, T Brown, B Macpherson©. Replacements: A McGuire, C Miller, R Tanner, O Baird, S Rae, F Johnston, C Elliot, M Cullen.

Glasgow Warriors ‘A’: F Watson; B Salmon, D Munn, K Yule, L Trotter; R Simpson, B Afshar ©; C Smyth, A Fraser, C Norrie, R Burke, S Manjezi, R Hart, J Morris, J Mann. Replacements: G Stewart, A Dell, M Walker, D Andrew, M McCormack, S Kennedy, M Urwin, A Caqusau.

Referee: Finlay Brown

Key battle: David McCartney versus Richie Simpson

Prediction: Bulls’ cohesion key in home win.

 

 

The other Friday night match sees Watsonians decant across Colinton Road to host Edinburgh ‘A’ at Meggetland as Myreside is unavailable, with Fraser Brown‘s side looking to bounce back after last weekend’s frustrating away loss to Stirling Wolves.

“Friday nights game against Edinburgh ‘A’ provides us with an excellent opportunity to gauge where we are against a fully professional side,” said the former Scotland hooker. “We know we will be tested up front by a formidable pack, many of whom are experienced campaigners and who have had plenty of minutes in the URC and Europe this season.

“For our young players it will be an excellent marker for them, and an opportunity to show that they are ready to put their hand up for positions in next year’s new pathway system.”

Kris Burney, who is coaching Edinburgh ‘A’ during this campaign, explained: “Naturally we would love to sign off our Sprint season in style but we’re under no illusions that Watsonians pose a real threat. It appears they have slightly adjusted their style of play and that can take some getting used to. However, they have a core of strong players and look to be growing into the campaign as each game passes so I expect a challenging match.

“Once again, given the time of the season, we are fortunate to be able to maintain some selection consistency. The front five is unchanged from our visit to Goldenacre. Tom Currie moves to No 8 and Freddy Douglas comes in to start at No 7 following his huge impact off the bench against Heriot’s where he was arguably man of the match despite only playing 50 minutes. Adam McBurney plays out of position at 6 but his experience will be invaluable in another youthful side.

“Following strong performances in the A team, Cammy Scott has been placed permanently in the first team training squad. Therefore Finn Burgess moves [from scrum-half] to stand-off with Charlie Shiel returning to the side at No 9. The rest of the backline remains unchanged for successive fixtures and we once again look forward to seeing those youthful combinations develop and flourish.”

 

Watsonians (v Edinburgh ‘A’ in round five of Super Series Sprint at Meggetland on Friday @ 7.35pm): D Coetzer; R Coetzer, J Mitchell, L Berg, F Owsley; J Baggott, C McApline; R Deans,F Duraj, C Lamberton, J Berrisford, J Parkinson, K Van Niekerk, S Cecil, N Irvine-Hess ©. Replacements: G Parry, C Davidson, B Bratton, K Watt, O Gordon, M Scott, S Clark, L Macpherson.

Edinburgh Rugby ‘A’: J Brown, N Moncrieff, S Leweni, J Hocking, F Douglas; F Burgess, C Shiel; L de Bruin, P Harrison, A Williams ©, E McVie, R Carmichael, A McBurney, F Douglas, T Currie. Replacements: H Morris, M Jones, O Blyth-Lafferty, M Fyffe, J Blyth-Lafferty, H Patterson, C Beckett, J Townshend.

Referee: Jonny Perriam

Key battle: Seb Cecil versus Freddy Douglas

Prediction: Watsonians get their show back on the road.


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About David Barnes 3997 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.

1 Comment

  1. FYI – the Ayr v Glasgow A game is on BBC Alba this evening if you’re not watching the Challenge Cup Final!

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