Super Series Saturday preview: Southern Knights v Boroughmuir Bears and Stirling Wolves v Heriot’s

Home sides both looking to bounce back from round one defeats

Championship title holders Stirling Wolves host Heriot's in round two of the 2024 Super Series Sprint. Image: Bryan Robertson
Championship title holders Stirling Wolves host Heriot's in round two of the 2024 Super Series Sprint. Image: Bryan Robertson

SOUTHERN KNIGHTS have handed Scotland Under-18s stand-off Ross Wolfenden the No10 jersey for tomorrow’s Super Series Sprint round two clash against Boroughmuir Bears at the Greenyards after impressing off the bench during last weekend’s loss to Edinburgh ‘A’, as the two sides which have most consistently given youth its head in Super Series meet for perhaps the last time before this tier of rugby is discontinued.

Defence coach Iain Chisholm explained: “This weekends selection is an exciting one with a real blend of experience and young local talent. While Ross Wolfenden is rewarded for his energy and intent off the bench last weekend, youngsters Hector Patterson, Mac Rutherford, Dylan Cockburn and Nairn Moncrieff will make an appearance later in the match.

“We’re desperate to get on the board this weekend but Boroughmuir are coming off a win against Glasgow Warriors ‘A’. We’ve identified opportunities in their game that we feel we can go after. Scott Wight [attack coach] has made wee tweaks to our focus and shape, and defensively we’ve gotten real clarity on the bits we lacked last weekend.


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“If we come out with the same fight we showed in the last 40 against Edinburgh, I’m confident we’ll put on a performance and get a result,” he added.

Bears have also selected their usual smattering of promising youngsters with head coach Graham Shiel naming five home academy prospects in his match-day 23, and seven players aged under 20 (including two starters).

“There is continuity on the most part from a very solid performance in round one,” said Shiel, who has brought in Bertie Taylor at blindside flanker and moved Myles Lowe forward to lock in place of the benched Max Laboda, then replaced the injured Lewis Calder – another teenager – with  Ewan Guy at openside, whilst keeping the same backline.

“Last week was very pleasing for the whole group as they really dug deep and managed to gold on to a well-earned half-time lead to cross the line ahead at full-time,” Shield added. “This week has been focusing on a lot of the good elements of our performance to identify the areas that we were effective at so that we are able to replicate in our campaign moving forward, along with identifying areas that we know we need to improve as we aim to evolve throughout this campaign.

“Over the years of Super Series, our games versus Southern Knights have been on the whole competitive. We found the Southern Knights tough last year to play with the honours shared.

“The challenge this week is to be able to back up a good performance last week at home by going on the road to play against a team looking to bounce back from a tough opening game against a very strong professional outfit.

 

Southern Knights (v Boroughmuir Bears in round two of Super Series Sprint at the Greenyards on Saturday @ 3pm): G McNeish ©; F Douglas, A Hall, C Grieve, E McVicker; R Wolfenden, C Davidson; J Dobie, F Scott, Z Szwagrzak, A Runciman, A Ferrie, G Young, W Ferrie , M Rhodes. Replacements: B McLean, A McGregor, T Logan, D Cockburn, M Rutherford, H Paterson, W Greenlaw, N Moncrieff.

Boroughmuir Bears: E Muirhead; M Reid, R Kerr, S Robeson ©, R Stewart; G Paul, R  Swan; C McFeat Smith, A Allen, M McGinley, M Lowe, J Fisher, B Taylor, E Guy, L Habib. Replacements: C Tait, R Brown, C MacGregor, M Laboda, Z Griffiths, J Beveridge, A McLean, A Thom.

Referee: Ciaran Stark

Key battle: Ross Wolfenden versus Gregor Paul

Prediction: Bears make it two from two.

 

 

Meanwhile, recent Super Series Championship winners Stirling Wolves are looking to bounce back from their away loss against Ayrshire Bulls in round one, but face another side who will feel they have a score to settle, with Heriot’s having finished top of the table last time out only to lose out to Eddie Pollock’s side at the play-off semi-final stage.

“After a very physical battle against Bulls last week at Millbrae we make three changes to the starting line up with forwards Marius Tamosaitis and MacKenzzie Duncan making their first starts of the campaign,” said head coach Pollock.

“Eric Davey rotates in for Kyle McGhie and Bryce Robertson and Sam Rockley come in on the bench, and we welcome Craig Nolan from Glasgow Hawks to the squad.

“Heriot’s will travel buoyed by a bonus point win against Watsonians and we know, as always, they will be well prepared by a strong coaching group with a real intent to play expansive rugby,” Pollock added.

“Our players have trained well this week following last week’s loss, and they are focused on putting in a strong, accurate performance as we return to Bridgehaugh. Ball retention and the gainline contest will, as usual, have a big say in the result. I am sure another thrilling encounter awaits.”

Ben Cairns has also made three changes to the Heriot’s side he sent out against Watsonians last weekend, with Michael Liness and Jason Hill rotating in for Cammy Fenton and Callum Anderson at hooker and No 8, respectively, while Jack Blain returns on the wing meaning Lewis Wells drops to the bench.

“Last week was a good start, both in terms of the competition and also how we started the match,” said the former Edinburgh and Scotland centre. “Some of the handling and support lines in the first half was excellent and our collision work allowed us to control the game.

“Stirling will be hurting after their first round defeat and, due to the nature of the Sprint, will be desperate to win in the first home outing to stay in the mix.

“For us, it’s a chance to test ourselves on the road. Playing away always provides a different challenge and I am looking forward to seeing how the group has developed in terms of dealing with that pressure.”

 

Stirling Wolves (v Heriot’s in round two of Super Series Sprint at Bridgehaugh on Saturday @ 3pm): G Bryce; M Heron, R Southern, M Holden ©, R McKnight; C Jackson, E Davey; L Quarm, J Roberts, M Tamosaitis, J Pow, J Oguntibeju, R Knott, M Duncan, E Hasdell. Replacements: B Robertson, B Cullen, C Norrie, A Clarke, C Nolan, K Mcghie, L Jarvie, S Rockley..

Heriot’s: C Townsend; S Pecqueur, M Davidson, F Wood, J Blain; L Richman ©, S Smith; J Scott, M Liness, E McLaren, R Sendak, J Campbell, R Leishman, S Wallace, J Hill. Replacements: D Hood, C Fenton, O Blyth-Lafferty, W Nelson, C Anderson, E McAra, L Wells, A Hunter.

Referee: Rob McDowell

Key battle: Ed Hasdell versus Jason Hill

Prediction: More heartache for Wolves.


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About David Barnes 4008 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.