IT is Groundhog Day at Goldenacre tomorrow [Saturday] with Heriot’s hosting Boroughmuir Bears, just as they did in the final round of matches of the regular Super6 season at 3pm last Saturday, and on this occasion the prize at stake is the opportunity to avoid the ignominy of being left holding the league’s ‘wooden spoon’.
Home head coach Andy Kelly has made four changes to his starting XV for this 5th/6th place play-off clash with James Couper replacing Ben Evans on the right wing, Rob Kay returning at inside centre in place of the benched Stuart Edwards, Alex Ball getting the nod at scrum-half over Lloyd Wheeldon, and Ronan Seydak evicting Callum Marshall from the boiler-house.
“We feel this is the strongest squad we can select to get the 80 minute performance we are looking for,” said Kelly. This is the last game of the season and both teams will be looking to end on a high. We are looking to execute the chances we are creating for ourselves.
Meanwhile, Bears head coach Graham Shiel explained: “Mzwandile Mncube comes into the starting XV to earn a first start of the season. He is joined by Cole Lamberton who is in the unique position of having played as many times against Boroughmuir Bears as he has for them! It’s great to have Cole getting a chance this week taking over from the injured Ross Dunbar. Finlay Scott starts at hooker, swapping places with Craig McKenzie who is on the bench.
“Greg Cannie is in the squad for the first time this season having sustained a significant injury in the final warm-up fixture for this years FOSROC Super6, so good to see him back fit to play.
He added: “Due to injuries we welcome Scotland U20 duo Jamie Drummond and Tom Banatvala to the squad. Jamie as emergency cover from Ayrshire Bulls and will start off the bench. It is always a thrill to see Jamie taking the field as his work-rate and commitment is second to none. Tom is studying at Durham University and comes in as emergency cover via Currie Chieftans having played with them prior to resuming his studies.
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“We did so much good last week, however, we could not complete the performance with a win, although we pushed hard at the death. Again, much to take from this both positive and negative which has very much been the story of the Bears’ season.
“This week provides an opportunity to reflect on what we did well and areas for improvement to allow us to continue our progress and improve in all areas individually and collectively.
“Heriots took the opportunities that they were afforded last week and we know how dangerous they can be, so we need to be even more alert this week and I am sure both sides will continue to play some open, flowing rugby.
“We know we need to tighten up our game management and defensive effort if we are to get the result we want.”
Heriot’s Rugby (versus Boroughmuir Bears at Goldenacre on Saturday 16th August, kick-off 3pm): R Jones; J Couper, R McMichael, R Kay, C Young; B Houston, A Ball; M Jones, M Liness, D Gamble, R Seydak, F Hastie, R Leishman, I Wilson (captain), J Hill. Substitutes: C Fenton, C Keen, J Scott, C Marshall, J McLean, L Wheeldon, S Edwards, R Chalmers.
Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown; C Ramm, D Munn, R McCallum, J Edmunds; M Cimprich, K Barreto; C Lamberton, F Scott, M McGinley, J Fisher, E Ferrie, M Mncube, C Keddie, R Tait. Substitutes: C McKenzie, T Banatvala, J Drummond, S McGinley, G Cannie, K McGhie, R Kerr, T Andrews.
Referee: David Sutherland.