Super Series Saturday 7th October Preview: Stirling Wolves v Heriot’s and Boroughmuir Bears v Watsonians

Former Edinburgh pro Jack Blain returns for Heriot's

Stirling Wolves host Heriot's at Bridgehaugh on Saturday afternoon. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Stirling Wolves host Heriot's at Bridgehaugh on Saturday afternoon. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE GAME BELOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED

HERIOT’S head to Bridgehaugh to take on Stirling Wolves in the Super Series Championship on Saturday with former Edinburgh Rugby winger Jack Blain back in the ranks and second-row Ronan Seydak set to make his 50th appearance for the part-time professional outfit.

The Goldenacre men are second in the table and have not played since September 23rd, so they are raring to go for this away game.

In the backline, ex-Scotland under-20 cap Blain is involved after returning to these shores following a recent stint with Warringah Rats in Australia. Blain has played for Heriot’s before and for this match he replaces the benched Sam Pecqueur, but in general he has come into the squad for the rest of the competition for Ben Evans who has been ruled out with injury.


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Polish international Seydak, who used to play for Edinburgh Accies in the Premiership, is the first player to make it to a half century of appearances for the club at this level. He has started 29 out of the last 30 games.

Elsewhere in the pack, Ruairidh Leishman rotates in for Wallace Nelson in the back-row and Josh Scott and Cammy Fenton come in for Chris Keen and Michael Liness respectively at loose-head and hooker. Fenton will captain. Charlie Jupp and Sinjin Broad are back from injury to take spots on the bench.

“This match is huge for us to reconsolidate our title ambitions,” Heriot’s head coach Ben Cairns said. “We are in a good spot squad wise with almost a full group to pick from and we need to make the most of this as we know how quickly that can change.

“We are in no doubt about the challenge that awaits us at Bridgehaugh. It is a huge match for the Wolves in the context of their season ambitions.

“They have created a buzz around the match as part of their ‘Super Saturday’ at Bridgehaugh and we know how much this will fire up their squad for a big performance.

“Both teams play a very similar style. Both like to play off quick ball and stretch the opposition. It should be a very entertaining match and will ultimately come down to who is able to get closest to their peak performance on the day.”

Wolves go into this one off the back of a 45-17 loss at Ayrshire Bulls last Saturday, having had to play a large chunk of the match with 14 men after Connor Gordon’s red card.

They are fifth in the table and still have strong play-off hopes while they pushed Heriot’s all the way at Goldenacre back in September before losing out 38-34.

Marius Tamosaitis replaces Moby Ogunlaja at tight-head while Ed Timpson joins the back-row in place of the aforementioned Gordon.

Behind the scrum, Eric Davey replaces Kyle McGhie at scrum-half with Ross McKnight preferred to Sam Rockley on the bench, while Craig Jardine also earns a spot in the 23.

“Last week was very frustrating with an early red card for Connor Gordon having a huge influence on the result at Bulls,” Knights head coach Eddie Pollock said. “We are glad to be back home and will be looking to get back on track by putting in a performance we can be proud of in front of a vociferous Bridgehaugh crowd.

“We welcome Heriot’s who are the form team at present and are a very dangerous free flowing side well coached by Ben Cairns and the rest of his staff. We had a great game earlier in the season at Goldenacre and I am sure the supporters will see another quality encounter.”

Before this one, Stirling County take on Kirkcaldy at 1pm in National Two.

 

Stirling Wolves (versus Heriot’s at Bridgehaugh on Saturday at 3pm): G Bryce; M Heron, R Southern, M Holden©, R McKnight; C Jackson, E Davey; G Breese, R Kennedy, M Tamosaitis, H Ferguson, J Pow, R Knott, E Timpson, E Hasdell. Subs: S Rainey, L Quarm, L Skinner, T Smith, S MacDonald, K McGhie, C Jardine, S Rockley.

Heriot’s: L Richman; G Barber, M Davidson, G Hughes, J Blain; R Jones, F Campbell; J Scott, C Fenton©, E McLaren, R Seydak, J Campell, R Leishman, B Smith, C Anderson. Subs: M Liness, C Keen, C Ramsay, C Jupp, W Nelson, S Broad, D King, S Pecqueur.

Referee: Ian Kenny

 

Key battle: Marcus Holden versus Grant Hughes.

 

Verdict: Both sides know this is an important game for them. Wolves are a good side on their home turf as the win against Watsonians in late August showed, but Heriot’s are pretty much at full strength here and will want to keep up the pressure on leaders Ayrshire Bulls.

Away win.

 

In the later game on Saturday, Boroughmuir Bears and Watsonians meet in a local derby in Edinburgh. They are competing for the Allan McNish Trophy awarded to the side with Watsonians in the box-seat after a 33-7 win at Myreside earlier in the season. The winner of the trophy will be determined by the aggregate score across the two matches.

The Bears are sixth going into this one and know they need wins fast to have any chance at all of making the play-offs. Corey Tait is away with Glasgow Warriors for their pre-season friendly against Ulster, so that means Arthur Allen starts at hooker for the hosts.

A rotation in the back row sees co-captain Craig Keddie coming into the starting XV in place of the benched Scott McGinley. Euan Muirhead returns at full-back for Callum Ramm who is only the bench. Also among the replacements is Callum Hunter who has joined as ‘emergency cover’ from Falkirk.

“Our ‘next door neighbours’ Watsonians are our opposition this week, so players have the added motivation of playing local rivals,” Bears head coach Graham Shiel said.

“Watsonians are always a tough outfit to compete against, so we need to find the best version of ourselves and be willing to match their physicality. Watsonians by their own standards have had a mixed campaign, but we know how difficult a game this is going to be.

“They have depth and quality in their squad by Super Series standards, so whatever combination of players they put out they will be strong. Training has focused on finding form and consistency in our performances so that we challenge the opposition and be more competitive.”

Watsonians are third in the standings and have made three changes to the starting XV that won at Southern Knights last time out. Winger Freddie Owsley, scrum-half Murdo McAndrew and second-row Alfie Scopes come in while Finn Duraj is added tom the bench along with Seb Cecil, Murray Scott and Jason Baggott.

“Boroughmuir Bears are a very physical and confrontational team who are very difficult to play against,” Watsonians head coach Nikki Walker said. “It has been evident in their performances that teams have found it difficult to break them down so we know that we will have to be very accurate with ball in hand in order to play the game that we want to.

“We have analysed our recent performances with great depth and put the work in on the training field, so we believe we are in a good place heading into the home stretch of the Super Series Championship.”

Before this one, at 2pm Boroughmuir host Howe of Fife in National Three.

 

Boroughmuir Bears (versus Watsonians at Meggetland on Saturday at 5pm): E Muirhead; M Cullen, A Thom, S Robeson©, J Jenkins; G Paul, K Barreto; I Carmichael, A Allen, M McGinley, M Loboda, J Fisher, C Keddie©, K Westlake, T Andrews. Subs: Z Griffiths, C McFeat Smith, L Alessandri, C Hunter, S McGinley, J Beveridge, A McLean, C Ramm.

Watsonians: D Coetzer; S King, G Pringle, L Berg, F Owsley; L Millar©, M McAndrew; C Davidson, J Kerr, G Scougall, K Watt, A Scopes, L Ball, K Main, K van Niekerk. Subs: F Duraj, R Deans, B Bratton, J Berrisford, S Cecil, M Scott, J Baggott, L MacPherson.

Referee: Keane Davison

 

Key battle: Euan Muirhead versus Dom Coetzer.

 

Verdict: Boroughmuir have not played since a loss at Heriot’s a fortnight ago. That may have allowed them to rest some sore bodies, but Watsonians have been on a good run and have won the last three. Their settled selection and bench strength should see them keep that run going.

Away win.


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About Gary Heatly 463 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.