THIS GAME HAS NOW BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO A WATERLOGGED PITCH
THE condensed format of Super6 means that every game is a bit like a cup final, but for Boroughmuir Bears there feels like there is an extra slice more at stake this weekend when they host Ayrshire Bulls at Meggetland [4pm kick-off on Saturday].
Graham Shiel’s side currently prop up the table, and given that they are 11 points adrift of the title play-offs with just two rounds of matches of the regular season to go, they are really only playing for pride – but that can be a huge motivating factor for competitive sports people, and after suffering a 53-10 mauling at Heriot’s in their last outing, the team really does have a point to prove.
But they are up against an Ayrshire Bulls outfit who have a few demons of their own to slay having lost their two matches so far this calendar year to Watsonians away on 18th January and Southern Knights the following week – meaning that they have dropped to third in the table and are now playing catch-up in the race for a home play-off draw.
“It has been tough start to 2020 for the squad, however, they continue to work hard and look to make improvements individually and collectively,” said Shiel. “Ayrshire Bulls are always a tough side to play and we look forward to welcoming them to Meggetland this weekend as we look to improve our performance and measure ourselves against a strong outfit as we continue to learn as a group to become more accurate in all that we do to be competitive.”
Shiel has handed first Super6 starts to former Kenya Under-20s and Western Province academy hooker Toby Francombe and homegrown scrum-half Murray Johnstone, while captain Chris Laidlaw returns from injury to provide a valuable steadying hand at stand-off.
Meanwhile, Royal High School pupil Ben Grainger has been released by Edinburgh Accies to provide scrum-half cover from the bench, while Cameron Scott has been released by Scotland Under-20s to provide back-up in midfield.
The Bulls are boosted by the return from injury of former Scotland loose-head Gordon Reid. Harry Warr rotates in for David Armstrong at scrum-half, New Zealander Tom Jordan shifts in from centre to stand-off with Ross Thompson being handed the No 15 jersey, and Isaac McNulty makes his first start of the season alongside Danny McCluskey in the centre.
With a 6-2 split on the bench, it looks like head coach Peter Murchie is expecting a war of attrition in the midst of Storm Dennis.
“It seems like a long break from our last Super6 game, but we have trained hard and playing [a friendly] against Newcastle Falcons a fortnight ago has aided our preparation,” said Murchie. “We are really focused on this weekend against Boroughmuir Bears, there seems to be a determination to swing our momentum as we approach the business end of the season.”
Boroughmuir Bears (versus Ayrshire Bulls at Meggetland, Saturday, kick-off: 4pm): Glen Faulds; Cammy Gray, Ronan Kerr, Greg Cannie, Jordan Edmunds; Chris Laidlaw©, Murray Johnstone; AP McWilliam, Toby Francombe, Dan Winning, Ewan Stewart, Callum Atkinson, David Medjebeur, Scott McGinley, Craig Keddie. Subs: George Shannon, Michael Downer, Ryan Montgomery, Will Inglis, Tom Drennan, Ben Grainger, Cameron Scott, Archie Russell.
Ayrshire Bulls: Ross Thompson; Matt Davidson, Danny McCluskey, Isaac McNulty, Craig Gossman; Tom Jordan, Harry Warr; Gordon Reid, Sam Kitchen, Nicolas Griffiths, Marshall Sykes, Lars Morrice, George Bordill, Peter McCallum©, Blair Macpherson. Subs: Alex McGuire, Michael Scott, Ruairidh Sayce, Fraser Hastie, Lewis Anderson, Graham Geldenhuys, David Armstrong, Tyler Beary.
How it stands –