TWO winless teams will have a chance to kick-start their Super Series campaigns when Boroughmuir Bears welcome the FOSROC Future XV to Meggetland tomorrow [Saturday] evening.
Home head coach Graham Shiel has stuck largely with the team which lost heavily to Heriot’s at home in round one, with just one change in the back (Kieran Westlake coming in for Scott McGinley in a reshuffled back-row which sees Craig Keddie switch from No 8 to openside flanker), and three changes in the backline (Euan Muirhead replacing Callum Ramm at full-back, George Paul starting at stand-off and Josh Beveridge getting a run from the start at scrum-half).
Meanwhile, Dan Winning returns as a replacement prop after a long period out of the game. “Dan has worked incredibly hard to rehab his injury and we are looking forward to seeing him back in action at Meggetland,” said Shiel.
The return of Trystan Andrews after missing last week through injury also adds some valuable punch to the bench.
“Last week;s opener was tough and the squad have responded well in training,” added Shiel. “We’ve looked closely at areas we need to improve to become more competitive within the Super Series competition. It is down to the same group of players for round two although, we do have a few players returning from injury and annual leave to bolster the group.
“All players in the match day squad have had Super Series experience now and it will be a chance for the group to settle in, express themselves and play rugby as we aim to do.
“The Future XV had a very close encounter with Southern Knights last week, so we know this will be a tough game for the Bears, but we are looking forward to welcoming the new young exciting squad to Meggetland for their first visit of the season.
“This week we have five under-20s players in our squad, with three starting, reflecting our focus on showcasing some of the most talented young players in Scotland.”
Meanwhile, Future XV head coach Scott Lawson has handed captaincy of the team to loose-head prop Callum Smyth, whilst retaining a number of youngsters who showed up well against Southern Knights in round one in his match-day squad.
“Callum impressed last week with some dynamic ball carries and hard work in defence and I’m sure he will back up his performance this week,” Lawson explained. “Ollie Duncan showed up very well in the line-out and wide channels while Freddy Douglas will continue to be a threat at the breakdown and build on his dynamic offence play.
“Kerr Johnston comes straight in as vice-captain and outside-centre against the team he represented in the Sprint, after returning from Scotland Under-20s duty in Kenya at the start of the week, forming a tantalising midfield triumvirate alongside Callum Ferrie and Isaac Coates.
“Although disappointed not to win, the many learning points we took from last week’s performance will stand us in good stead as we look to further improve this week,” added Lawson. “We will continue to look to play to our strengths while thriving to create a platform that allows our players to play a high-tempo, energetic style of rugby.
“Our main focus this week has been to increase our accuracy that will allow us to convert more of the opportunites we are creating.
“Graham Shiel and Boroughmuir Bears are one of, if not the best club at giving young talent opportunity within the Super Series competition. The model and values they adopt closely aligns with the FOSROC Future XV and as a result I’m sure we will get a huge entertaining match on Saturday afternoon.”
Boroughmuir Bears (versus Future XV at Meggetland on Saturday @ 5.30pm): E Muirhead; M Cullen, A Thom, S Robeson (co-©), J Jenkins; G Paul, J Beveridge, L Alessandri, A Allen, M McGinley, M Lodoba, J Fisher, J King, C Keddie (co-©), K Westlake. Substitutes: Z Griffiths, B Sweet, D Winning, L Habib, T Andrews, R Swan, C Anderson, C Ramm.
Future XV: S Wilson; A Caqusau, K Johnston, C Ferrie, B Riley; I Coates, E McAra; C Smyth ©, M Brogan, M Ogunlaja, F Wilson, J Spurway, C Nolan, F Douglas, O Duncan. Substitutes: M Cantle, A Rodger, E Cairns, T Peach, C Farmer, R Cadzow, R Lile, M Wilson.
Referee: David Sutherland
Key battle: Craig Keddie versus Freddy Douglas
Verdict: The Bears were blown away by Heriot’s last week and Graham Shiel has given largely the same set of players a chance to make amends, which they are good enough to do. Home win.