Super Series Sprint Final: Ayrshire Bulls and Stirling Wolves both want the last word

Revenge and determination to bow out in style will provide ample motivation for hosts – but visitors are deadly when it is all on the line

Bobby Beattie carries for Ayrshire Bulls versus Stirling Wolves at Millbrae. Image: George McMillan
Bobby Beattie carries for Ayrshire Bulls versus Stirling Wolves at Millbrae. Image: George McMillan

AYRSHIRE BULLS head coach Pat MacArthur has promised that his team are ready to put on a show in their last rodeo tomorrow night.

With Stirling Wolves providing the opposition in the Super Series Sprint Final at Millbrae, revenge will be a motivating factor for the home team following their surprise loss to Eddie Pollock’s side in the Championship Final in November, but the biggest driver is determination to sign off on the Super6/Series era in style.

Having been the most consistent team in the competition throughout its five year journey, there is a burning desire amongst players, coaches and management to make sure the last meaningful action before it all comes to an end is the most positive possible reflection of what the team stands for.


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“Concluding the Sprint and Super Series with a thrilling final at Millbrae against Stirling Wolves is truly a testament to the team’s dedication throughout,” said MacArthur. “The players work tirelessly for moments like these, dedicating themselves in training to improve week after week. The commitment displayed by all, including those who may have known their involvement in this game was limited, has been a driving force behind our preparation.

“With the Championship Final defeat fresh in our minds, we are aware of the Wolves’ physicality and work at the breakdown. They also have dangerous runners.

“We are determined to make our supporters, the club, and ourselves proud in what will be the Bulls last rodeo.”

MacArthur has made only two changes to the starting line-up which booked home advantage in this match by beating Heriot’s last weekend with Thomas Glendinning coming in for Marcus Kershaw, who is on GB7s duty, while Reiss Cullen swaps places with the benched Fergus Johnston.

Bulls are also boosted by the return from injury of rugged back-row Ryan Sweeney, who is named on the bench

 

 

But Wolves are not heading west just to make up the numbers, with head coach Pollock making only one change to his match-day squad following last weekend’s away win over Southern Knights, with Ruaridh Knott returning at blindside flanker, Macenzzie Duncan moving to the bench and Fergus Read missing out.

“Going into this week’s final, consistency in selection again is key,” said Pollock. “As a group we are all excited to have the opportunity to face Pat and his Bulls side in another Super Series Final. Our games are always physical encounters, with the Bulls being a real challenge on both sides of the ball. Their set-piece is strong, and we will need to be at our best in scrum and maul to allow us to control field position and give us a good foothold in the game away from home.

“Since taking over as head coach in November 2022, I have been proud to see the growth in this Wolves side. The commitment and dedication of the players and coaching group has been outstanding since day one and to finish the Super Series chapter in another final is testament to their hard work. I can’t thank them enough.

“Bulls in a final at Millbrae will be the biggest challenge we have faced in Super Series Rugby thus far. It promises to be a cracker!”

 

Ayrshire Bulls (v Stirling Wolves in the Super Series Sprint Final at Millbrae on Friday @ 7.35pm): L Bardelli; T Glendinning, J Shedden, R Beattie, M Cullen; R Simpson, R Cullen; J Drummond, J Malcolm, C Henderson, E Bloodworth, R Jackson, G Stewart, L McNamara, B Macpherson©. Replacements: A McGuire, R Tanner, C Miller,, O Baird, R Sweeney, F Johnston, C Elliot, T Brown.

Stirling Wolves: G Bryce; M Heron, R Southern, M Holden ©, R McKnight; C Jackson, K McGhie; L Quarm, J Roberts, M Tamosaitis, J Pow, J Oguntibeju, R Knott, S Macdonald, E Hasdell. Replacements: B Robertson, A Rogers, J Phelen A Clarke, M Duncan, E Davey, E Cunningham, C Ferrie.

Referee: David Sutherland

Key battle: Blair Macpherson versus Ed Hasdell

Prediction: If there is one thing we learned from the pre-Christmas Championship, it is that you write-off Wolves in a do-or-die match at your peril, and Bulls have struggled to replicate their rip-roaring form from the start of this campaign in recent weeks when losing at home to Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ then initially struggling  to recover their groove against Heriot’s away. But Pat MacArthur has assembled a well-oiled machine at Millbrae, packed with shrewd operators and born winners, so with a vocal home crowd roaring them on the competitions most successful team should have enough to claim the silverware in their last ever rodeo.


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About David Barnes 4026 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.