Super Series Sprint: Watsonians aim to bounce back against capital city rivals

Winless Southern Knights face another uphill battle when Edinburgh A visit the Greenyards

Ross Jones of Heriot's and Dominic Coetzer of Watsonians will lock horns again on Saturday afternoon at Goldenacre. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ross Jones of Heriot's and Dominic Coetzer of Watsonians will lock horns again on Saturday afternoon at Goldenacre. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

HERIOT’S head coach Ben Cairns hopes continuity can be key as his look to double-up on last weekend’s win over Southern Knights when they host the top Super6/Series team of 2022 at Goldenacre in tomorrow’s 3pm match. Watsonians’ air of invisibility was dented last weekend by Edinburgh A, but a backlash could be on the cards in this Edinburgh derby.

Cairns has made one change to his backline, with Mikey Gray being added on the win place of the injured Sam Pecqueur, while teenager Euan McVie earns a start in the second-row, with Charlie Jupp moving to blindside flanker and Ruairidh Leishman returning at No 8, meaning Wallace Nelson and Callum Anderson drop to the bench. Chris Anderson from Currie Chieftains provides emergency prop cover, and Euan McLaren returns from illness, in an otherwise settled looking squad.

“Another home match and another tough test at the start of this Sprint Series campaign,” said Cairns. “Watsonians have started in good form. They will have been disappointed with the final result against Edinburgh A last time out but they matched a very strong side for long periods of that game. They have a pretty settled group with a clear way of playing and I am they sure will travel to Goldie determined to get back to winning ways.

“We are really pleased with the progress the squad has made and Saturday’s match will provide another measure of just how far we’ve come. We were happy with large parts of our game versus Southern Knights, however we know we will need to create more pressure and harness momentum better than we managed to last week if we are to get anything from this match.”


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Watsonians have also stuck with largely the same squad which came up short agains Edinburgh A. Lewis Berg returns at outside-centre meaning Angus Guthries reverts back to the wing, Murdo McAndrew comes in for Murray Scott at scrum-half, and Scotland Under-20s loose-head prop Robbie Beans starts ahead of Harrison Courtney.

“After a tough physical game last week against a good Edinburgh A Team, we were disappointed with the result,” said head coach Stevie Scott. “However, the boys have worked really hard this week to address some areas that let us down last week. We created opportunities but our execution wasn’t the standard it needs to be against quality teams.

“We have a couple of new faces in the squad this week,” he added. “We welcome George Pringle [onto the bench], who joins us from Ireland. He’s had an excellent season for his club [Ballynahinch], being nominated Players Player of the Year. We are really looking forward to seeing his impact in the Sprint Series.

“The other new face is Hector Paterson. He’s just returned from Ireland after having good performances with Scotland U18s and is another youngster raring to challenge himself.

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Meanwhile, Southern Knights will be glad to get back to the Greenyards after two away defeats in the opening rounds of this Sprint Series, but will recognise that they face a tough challenge against an undefeated Edinburgh A side who put Watsonians to the sword in ruthless fashion last weekend.

“We’ve had a few difficult away trips to start the season and games don’t get much bigger than this,” agreed head coach Alan Tait. “Team selection has been a bit tougher this week, especially in the backs, and we’ve gone for our most experienced back-line with Rory Brand and Callum Grieve working at half backs – both very exciting players. In the centre, Adam Hall and Robbie Chalmers make up the partnership, the latter had a solid game at 12 last week so we are looking forward to see how this midfield works against a strong Edinburgh A.

In the pack, there’s still a few injuries, especially in the back-row, which is unfortunate,” he added. “Cammy Thompson and Sam Derrick both get a start and I’m really excited to see them go up against the Edinburgh back-row.

We welcome our captain, Russell Anderson, back this week and have stuck with largely the same front-five with a real emphasis on getting the set-piece working, in both attack and defence. Jack Dobie, who’s been our stand-out player so far, is really coming through at this level, which is exactly what it’s about, so it’s great for him to get another start.

“This is going to be a great challenge for the group, both physically and mentally, and the boys are really excited for the first home game. We can’t wait to get out there in front of our home fans in what we expect will be a really exciting fixture.”

Edinburgh A are missing some of the big hitters who did a lot of damage last week, with Glen Young, Pierce Phillips and Cam Hutchison being rewarded for their performance against Watsonians with a call-up to the senior side for last night’s match against Ulster.

Winger Jack Blain, No 8 Rudi Brown, prop Murray McCallum and replacement prop Dan Gamble will be making their last appearances for the club before moving on in the summer.

“It’s great to welcome someone of Matt Currie’s calibre into the side as he returns from injury, and he’ll be able to use his experience alongside guys that have impressed us in the Premiership this season,” said head coach Rob Chrystie.

“We’ve really enjoyed our involvement in the competition, we’ve had two great matches and more importantly two opportunities to meet with our partnership clubs and build that relationship. It’s exciting for us to be able to bring a capital side to the Borders, and on a personal note, I’m looking forward to having a match against my old side!”

 

Heriot’s (versus Watsonians at Goldenacre on Saturday 22nd April – kick-off 3pm): D King; A Boyle, M Davidson, G Hughes, M Gray; R Jones, E McAra; J Scott, C Fenton, C Ramsay, E McVie, R Seydak, C Jupp, I Wilson©, R Leishman. Subs: M Liness, C Anderson, E McLaren, C Cobbett, C Anderson, W Nelson, M Russell, J Couper.

Watsonians: D Coetzer; L MacPherson, L Berg, J Baggott, A Guthrie; L Millar©, M McAndrew; R Deans, C Davies, M Wilson, L Ball, J Berrisford, S Cecil, C Wilson, N Irvine-Hess. Subs:  R Graham, C Davidson, G Scougall, K Watt, J Morris, H Patterson, G Pringle, S King.

Key battle: Euan McVie versus Luis Ball

Verdict: A test of Watsonians’s mettle as they look to bounce back from a rare defeat last weekend, and the reigning champions  should have just enough to edge a tight capital city derby. Away win.

 

 

Southern Knights (versus Edinburgh A at the Greenyards  on Saturday 22nd April – kick-off 5pm): K Clark; A Cross, R Chalmers, A Hall, P Anderson; C Grieve, R Brand; J Dobie, R Anderson©, C Bachurzewski, C Skeldon, E Demirel, C Thompson, A Ferrie, S Derrick. Subs: J Bett, F Barry, E Harrison, B Fotheringham, B McLean, C Davidson, H Rutherford, M Wilson.

Edinburgh A: N Sweeney; F Douglas, M Currie, C Scott, J Blain; B Houston, C Jones; M McCallum, P Harrison, A Williams, J Campbell, M Badenhorst, L McConnell©, J Blyth-Lafferty, R Brown. Subs: M Jones, D Gamble, T Smith, D Redpath, C Savala, E Reilly, L Wells.

Ket battle: Allan Ferris versus Jerry Blyth-Lafferty

Verdict: Southern Knights winless start to the season is set to continue against unbeaten Edinburgh A, who will have too much power up front and too much pace behind for the Borderers. Away win.


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About David Barnes 3908 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.

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