HERIOT’S head coach Andrew Kelly has been forced to test the depth of his squad for tomorrow’s [Saturday] Edinburgh derby against top of the table Watsonians due to a combination of injury and academy players being called back by Edinburgh ahead of next week’s pre-season training camp in Largs.
In the back-row, captain Iain Wilson, Jack Mann and Jason Hill are all out, so Callum Marshall and Ruaridh Leishman, who have played more in the second-row in recent seasons, revert to No8 and blindside, respectively. Hooker Cammy Fenton and tight-head prop Struan Cessford are also not around this week, so youngsters Duncan Hood and Archie Bogle have been called up from the Blues [Heriot’s ‘Club XV’] to sit on the bench.
Meanwhile, James Couper gets a start on the left wing in place of Callum Young, and Bruce Houston takes over from academy prospect Nathan Chamberlain at stand-off.
“Watsonians are at the top of the table and have played well in their games,” said Kelly. “This is a great challenge for us to see how far we have come and what we have learnt from the last three weeks. We want to build on our win against Stirling.”
Fergus Pringle has also had to do some shuffling of his squad, with Jamie Forbes not recovering from the knee injury he sustained against Boroughmuir Bears last week and Jordan Venter recalled by Edinburgh, meaning Harvey Elms switches to full-back, Lomond MacPherson is promoted from the bench on the right wing, and Ru Smith returns from a pre-season injury to make his first start of the season on the left wing.
Stevie Longwell starts aat tight-head, Harrison Courtney returns at loose-head and Campbell Wilson takes over from Connor Boyle at open-side flanker.
“Heriots have real quality players and a lot of experience across their squad,” said Pringle. “We have made the most of a slightly longer turnaround from our last game and worked hard this week. Our focus is still trying to put in a consistent 80 minute performance which we will need to get the result on Saturday.”
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Heriot’s (versus Watsonians at Goldenacre on Saturday 21st August, kick-off 3pm): R Jones (captain); R McMichael, R Kay, S Edwards, J Couper; B Houston, L Wheeldon; A Nimmo, M Liness, J Scott, R Seydak, A Sinclair, R Leishman, J McLean, C Marshall.
Subs: C Keen, D Hood, A Bogle, L Govenlock, F Hastie, M Russell, A Ball, B Evans.
Watsonians: H Elms; L MacPherson, L Berg, D Coetzer, R Smith; M Morrison, M Scott; H Courtney, C Davies (captain), S Longwell, K van Niekerk, M Badenhorst, L Ball, C Wilson, S Daly.
Subs: R Graham, T Jeffrey, M Argiro, K Watt, K Main, H Fisher, R Cullen, S King.