BOROUGHMUIR BEARS are boosted by the return from a shoulder injury of key back-rower Trystan Andrews for their Super6 Championship home match with Heriot’s on Friday evening.
With him back at No 8 after missing last weekend’s win over Southern Knights, captain Craig Keddie moves to openside while Scotland under-20 cap Iain Carmichael moves from the back-row to hooker in place of Corey Tait.
The rest of the Bears’ starting pack is unchanged while, in the backs, Scott Robeson starts at inside centre after Tom Lanni picked up a serious knee injury playing against the Knights. Forwards Scott McGinley and Paul Bogie as well scrum-half Murray Johnstone are added to the Bears bench.
The Bears go into this intriguing Edinburgh derby at Meggetland third in the table with 14 points while Heriot’s are fourth with 10 points.
“Friday night lights versus local competition in Heriot’s brings a different feel to Meggetland for the first game in September and another home game for the Bears,” head coach Graham Shiel said. “Three wins from four games to open our season has been greatly received, but equally expectation increases internally within the squad around our level of performance and externally as people see Bears as competitors in Super6.
“We have a tough run which begins with Heriot’s this weekend. They have a strong squad and plenty of depth, so whatever combination they bring to Meggetland they are capable of putting us to the sword.
“Whilst maybe repetitive, our approach is consistent, each week we must find ways to be able to compete with our opposition for as close to 80 minutes as we possibly can to get anywhere near to what is required for the Super6 level of competition.
“In the Sprint Series we were competitive for 60 minutes against Heriot’s, but we fell away in the last quarter and Heriot’s depth was clear to see on that occasion.
“We need to focus our efforts and find a way to bring all the best bits of our performances together from across our four previous games in the Championship to be able to present ourselves in a positive light on Friday.
“Whatever the outcome it would be a huge positive to go into the break [they do not have a fixture next weekend] having performed to a high standard and with the group being satisfied with our evening’s work.”
While there is a key forward returning for the Bears as mentioned, there is also one back for Heriot’s. After a great start to the campaign, second-row Ronan Seydak had a rest week and missed their last game, but he is now back to pack down alongside Fraser Hastie.
With Poland internationalist Seydak involved, Heriot’s skipper Ruairidh Leishman moves back to the back-row and Joey Britton drops to the bench.
The rest of the pack is the same as started when Stirling Wolves were put to the sword at Goldenacre last Saturday while, behind the scrum, Jed Gelderbloom comes in at scrum-half ahead of Murdo McAndrew having done well off the bench last week. Kyle Browne replaces the benched Ross Jones at 12 while Sam Pecqueur is on the wing.
Amongst the replacements is last year’s Stewart’s Melville College under-18 captain Elliot Young. He will cover hooker after impressing for Heriot’s Blues in the Tennent’s Premiership opener at Glasgow Hawks last weekend.
“Elliot trained with us during the summer and the exciting young hooker has continued to impress since playing for the Blues side and will replace the injured Cammy Fenton,” co-coach Fin Gillies explained.
Looking ahead to the match, Gillies added: “Although we scored 47 points last week, we were somewhat disappointed by our 30 percent execution in the ‘Gold Zone’ against Stirling Wolves.
“We continue to create lots of scoring opportunities, but we just haven’t managed to add that clinical edge that we need to be one of the challengers for this competition. The Bears are flying high at the minute with three wins out of four with their only defeat coming against Ayrshire Bulls away.
“Boroughmuir have made huge strides since the Sprint Series competition and they look like a team brimming with confidence at the minute, they have a powerful set piece and their maul looks especially strong and is providing them with a great source of points this season. The Bears are not afraid to play multi-phase rugby and they look very comfortable in the chaos that they can create.
“The overriding emotion ahead of this game is excitement, we have a chance to play another team who is above us in the league and it’s another opportunity to push forward our case for being league contenders.”
Boroughmuir Bears (versus Heriot’s @ Meggetland, Friday 7.45pm): T Brown; C Ramm, R Kerr, S Robeson, J Jenkins; J Bergin, R Swan; C Smith, I Carmichael, M Goodwin, J Fisher, C Atkinson, J King, C Keddie©, T Andrews. Substitutes: J Blyth Lafferty, B Sweet, M McGinley, L Alessandri, S McGinley, P Bogie, M Johnstone, A Scott.
Heriot’s: D King; F Jones, N Godsmark, K Browne, S Pecqueur; B Houston, J Gelderbloom; J Scott, M Liness, E McLaren, F Hastie, R Seydak, R Leishman©, I Wilson, L Govenlock. Subs: E Young, C Keen, S Cessford, C Anderson, J Britton, M McAndrew, B Kay, R Jones.
Referee: Ross Mabon.
Key battle: Trystan Andrews versus Lewis Govenlock.
Verdict: Having scored 40 and 47 points respectively in their last outings, there is no doubt that this should be an entertaining game with lots of running rugby. Boroughmuir played well for a large part of their game against the Southern Knights last Saturday, but leaked points in the second half and they will want to fix those defensive lapses while Heriot’s will want to prod at them. As Fin Gillies says, Heriot’s want to push forward their case for being league contenders and, to do so, they have to win matches like this – a good showing from their pack and they may just do so.