Super Series Sprint final: Ayrshire Bulls and Heriot’s ready for Millbrae shoot-out

The two teams drew when they met at the same venue a fortnight ago

Ayrshire Bulls and Heriot's face-off in the Super Series Sprint final at Millbrae tomorrow [Friday] night. Image: George McMillan
Ayrshire Bulls and Heriot's face-off in the Super Series Sprint final at Millbrae tomorrow [Friday] night. Image: George McMillan

AYRSHIRE BULLS head coach Pat MacArthur has named an unchanged backline after last weekend’s 59-24 win over 14-man Watsonians ahead of tomorrow night’s Super Series Sprint play-off final clash against Heriot’s at Millbrae.

However, he has been forced into three changes in the pack, with loose-head prop Andrew Nimmo, hooker Grant Stewart and second-row Rory Jackson – who have all been ever-presents in the match-day squad so far in this campaign – unavailable.

The missing mens’ positions have been taken up by William Farquhar, Blair Jardine and Archie Smeaton, with Jamie Drummond, Ewan Bulger-Hamilton and Tim Brown being added to the bench. Winger Thomas Glendinning also returns to the match-day squad, taking over from Chris Elliot on the bench.

  • Tickets for this match, which kicks off at 7.35pm, can be purchased HERE.

“It’s one big weekend after another,” reflected MacArthur. “Emotions will be high at Millbrae on Friday with the Sprint trophy on the line and it being Frazier Climo’s last game.

“Two weeks ago, we saw firsthand the quality Heriot’s possess when they came back to draw the game [after being 21-0 at half-time],” the former Scotland hooker added. “Discipline and concentrating for 80 minutes is going to be key. The players are looking forward to the challenge because having an opportunity to play in a final is what we all strive for.”

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Meanwhile, Heriot’s are bolstered by the return of Matt Davidson from Team GB Sevens duty to start at outside-centre, meaning Grant Hughes moves to inside-centre and Aidan Boyle drops to the bench, while the experienced Cam Jones swaps back in for Euan McAra at scrum-half to face the team he represented last year.

There is also an injection of experience into the pack with captain Iain Wilson and fellow back-rower Ruairidh Leishman returning to the fray, with Sam Wallace moving to the bench and Cameron Cobbett unfortunate to miss out on the match-day 23. Loose-head prop Chris Anderson – on loan from Currie Chieftains – comes onto the bench for the unavailable Struan Cessford in an otherwise settled looking squad.

“Last week we talked about making history by making a final for the first time at this level for our club, this week its about making the most of that opportunity,” said head coach Ben Cairns.

“Both teams will have a really good idea of what is needed off the back of our match at Millbrae only a fortnight ago. The biggest difference between that meeting and this week is what is at stake. The team that can deal best with the inevitable pressure this brings will give themselves a really good chance of taking the title.

“Our biggest reflection from two weeks ago and indeed last week’s match was the need to start better. This will be huge for us if we are to have any chance of causing an upset.

“The Bulls look like they are peaking at the right time. Its always hard to make too much of a performance when its against 14-men for the majority however, I thought they showed a real clinical edge in the second-half to take the game away from Watsonians last Friday night.

“We know it’s a massive challenge to go away from home to win the title, however we remain unbeaten since our defeat in round one against Edinburgh A. We’ve come a long way since then and we will be doing all we can on Friday night to hold on to that unbeaten record.”


Teams –

Ayrshire Bulls (versus Heriot’s at Millbrae on Friday @ 7.35pm): E Caven; L Bardelli, R Beattie, K Yule, J Shedden; F Climo, G Baird; W Farquhar, B Jardine, C Henderson, E Bloodworth, A Smeaton, R Sweeney, L McNamara, B Macpherson©. Substituties: A McGuire, J Drummond, C Miller, E Bulger-Hamilton, T Brown, B Afshar, B Roderick-Evans, T Glendenning.

Heriot’s: D King; M Gray, M Davidson, G Hughes, L Wells; B Houston, C Jones; J Scott, M Liness, E McLaren, C Jupp, R Seydak, R Leishman, I Wilson©, C Anderson. Substitutes: C Fenton, C Anderson, C Ramsay, A McCallum, S Wallace, E McAra, R Jones A Boyle.


Key battle: Frazier Climo versus Bruce Houston


Verdict: First 20 minutes could be crucial. Heriot’s have history in this campaign of being slow starters, and head coach Ben Cairns has warned his players that that they can’t afford to concede early point in winner-takes-all matches against opponents off the calibre of the Bulls, because the opposition are far less likely to relax and inadvertently let you back in. Bringing big-game players like Wilson, Leishman, Jones and Davidson back in could give the visitors a crucial edge against a Bulls side who have lost stalwarts Nimmo, Stewart and Jackson this week. Narrow away win.

Super Series Sprint final: Heriot’s skipper Iain Wilson hunts another happy Millbrae memory

About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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. Ayrshire Bulls is really building a club that is representative of the whole West of Scotland now. By my reckoning supporters from rugby clubs in/at GHA, Glasgow Accies, West of Scotland, Kilmarnock, Marr, Kilmarnock, Carrick, Biggar, Hawks, Ardrossan, Hillhead-Jordanhill, GHK, Cumnock, Ayr, and Arran all have someone playing for the Bulls in the final whom they can connect with. Impressive.


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