Super Series Sprint: winless quartet have chance to kick-start campaign

Heriot's host Southern Knights at Goldenacre and Boroughmuir Bears welcome Glasgow Warriors A to Meggetland

Ronan Seydak will be in the Heriot's second-row against Southern Knights. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ronan Seydak will be in the Heriot's second-row against Southern Knights. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

HERIOT’S head coach Ben Cairns has made eight changes to his starting XV as he looks to mastermind a first win of the 2023 Super Series Sprint series for his team against Southern Knights at Goldenacre tomorrow [Saturday] afternoon, with rotation and unavailabilities both factors in his selection.

Cam Jones (scrum-half), Bruce Houston (stand-off) and Dan Gamble (tight-head prop) have all been selected by Edinburgh ‘A’ while Struan Cessford (also a tight-head prop), Euan McLaren (yet another tight-head prop) and Ruairidh Leishman (back-row) miss out through injury.

Behind the scrum, Sam Pecqueur returns after being a late call off last week, Euan McAra, Ross Jones and Grant Hughes also start, with Aidan Boyle moving to the wing. That means James Couper and Matt Russell drop to the bench and Mikey Gray misses out. Fin Campbell (a Schools Cup winner with Stewart’s Melville in 2019 who is now studying in Bristol) provides emergency scrum-half cover.


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In the pack, Josh Scott, Cammy Fenton and debutant Cairn Ramsay are all added to the front-row, the second-row is unchanged, and Wallace Nelson replaces Leishman at blindside flanker having impressed from the bench last time out. Angus Munro, from the ‘club XV’ provides emergency prop cover and back-row Cameron Cobbett (a former Scotland under-19 squad member who joined the squad from Hartpury before the start of the series) is another in line for a debut as a replacement.

“We will have learnt a huge amount from last weekend’s match against a very good Edinburgh ‘A’ side and look forward to putting some of those learnings into practice this weekend,” said Cairns. “Southern Knights started their match well versus Watsonians last weekend but will be disappointed with their second half showing. However, they will travel with some confidence having won the last encounter between the two sides at Goldenacre.

“Both teams will be desperate to pick up their first win of the season. We’ve spoken a lot this week about our execution particularly at the start of the match to build momentum so hopefully we can put some of that into practice on Saturday.

“The weather looks good, the BBQ will be on and there is Cold Town Beer samples in the clubhouse so hopefully we will get another decent crowd down to Goldie.”

 

A call up to Edinburgh A for Jamie Campbell and a concussion suffered by Will Hopes prompts a reshuffle of the pack, with Ben Fotheringham of Jed-Forest coming onto the bench, and Cammy Thompson making his first start at No 6. Russell Anderson is unavailable so Ben McLean also makes his debut at hooker, with James Bett onto the bench. Murray Wilson, making the step up from National One, gets his first start in a new centre pairing alongside Robbie Chalmers, while youngster Harris Rutherford gets the start at 10, meaning Cal Grieve moves to full-back.

We’ve had another really good week of training and have had a good reaction from the players following last week’s game against Watsonians,” said Knights head coach Alan Tait. “We’ve got to give them a lot of credit from their first half performance, and we’ve spoken about what’s needed as a correction which we will take into the game versus Heriot’s.

“The boys are coming together really positively and that’s all we can ask of the squad. A lot of young players are getting their first crack at Super Series so we’re excited to see how they get on.”

Meanwhile, in the early evening game, Boroughmuir Bears head coach Graham Shiel has made three personnel and one positional change to the starting XV which came up short against Stirling Wolves last weekend, Iain Carmichael getting his first start at loose-head prop up against Glasgow Warriors A’s international tight-head Murphy Walker, Kerr Johnston coming in at outside-centre, and Callum Ramm moving from wing to full-back to as to accommodate Mason Cullen taking over the No 14 jersey.

Last week’s performance was disappointing for the Bears against a good Wolves team,” acknowledged Shiel. “Whilst we would have wished to have played better, the reality was we never really got going and were unable to put Wolves under any sustained pressure.

Every week gets tougher in this competition and this week’s fixture versus Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ will pose a different but exciting challenge for the Bears. This opportunity does not afford itself often, so to have the chance to play against a professional outfit is a great chance for the players to measure themselves and provides a chance to promote themselves individually and collectively.

“Against this calibre of opposition, we need to be more focused in all that we do and find ways to apply pressure on our opposition for longer periods of the game, whilst at the same time stepping up our defensive efforts to stop the threats Warriors possess.”

Warriors A head coach Pete Horne has also gone for a settled side after last weekend’s defeat to Ayrshire Bulls, with the only change being Amena Caqusau starting on the wing ahead of Ross McKnight having played the final hour of that previous game.

“We were pleased with elements of our game last week but ultimately did not make the most of the opportunities we created,” said Horne. “We were then really disappointed with our second half. We struggled to look after the ball and really impose ourselves the way we wanted. There has been a great reaction in training and I am really excited to see the response from the players this weekend.

“The team remains almost unchanged from last week which is good for us as it means the players can really get stuck into playing with one another.

“We again have a good blend of experience and youth in the squad, and we are looking forward to watching the players represent the club this weekend at Meggetland.”

 

Heriot’s (versus Southern Knights at Goldenacre on Saturday 15th April – kick-off 3pm): D King; A Boyle, M Davidson, G Hughes, S Pecqueur; R Jones, E McAra; J Scott, C Fenton, C Ramsay, C Jupp, R Seydak, W Nelson, I Wilson©, C Anderson. Subs: M Liness, A Munro, C Keen, E McVie, C Cobbett, F Campbell, M Russell, J Couper.

Southern Knights: C Grieve; A Cross, M Wilson, R Chalmers, O Melville; H Rutherford, R Brand; J Dobie, B McLean, C Greer, C Skeldon, E Demirel, C Thompson, A Ferrie, H Borthwick©. Subs: F Barry, J Bett, B Fotheringham, E Harrison, S Derrick, A Hall, K Clark, C Davidson.

Key clash: Cairn Ramsay versus Jack Dobie

Verdict: Two teams badly in need of a confidence boosting win after tough recent campaigns, with home advantage and a slightly more experienced and settles squad likely to swing it in the home team’s favour.

Boroughmuir Bears (versus Glasgow Warriors A at Meggetland on Saturday 15th April – kick-off 5pm): C Ramm; M Cullen, K Johnston, S Robeson, J Jenkins; T Quinlan, R Swan; I Carmichael, C Tait, M McGinley, J Fish, J King, C Keddie©, S McGinley, T Andrews. Subs: J Blyth-Lafferty, B Sweet, M Goodwin, A Allen, K Westlake, B Young, A Scott, A Thom.

Glasgow Warriors A: C Townsend; A Caqusau, B Salmon, D Munn, L Jarvie; D Weir, S Kennedy©; O Kebble, A Fraser, M Walker, M Williamson, A Samuel, A Miller, E Ferrie, G Brown. Subs: G Hiddleston, J Drummond, L Sordoni, H McLeod, A Smeaton, B Afshar, A Bogidrau, R McKnight.

Key clash: Scott Robeson versus Duncan Munn.

Verdict: We know that Boroughmuir Bears can be effective and entertaining in flashes but building an 80  min ute performance has been a challenge and with a settled Warriors A match-day 23 providing the opposition this time, an away in is on the cards.


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About David Barnes 3821 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.