HERIOT’S will be looking to build on an encouraging bonus point win at Stirling Wolves last time out when they host FOSROC Super6 Championship leaders Watsonians at Goldenacre this afternoon.
Under the leadership of co-coaches Fin Gillies and Stuart Edwards the signs have been positive for Heriot’s so far with one victory and one defeat – and they have been able to pick a settled starting side with just one change for this Edinburgh derby.
The pack remains the same while, on the wing, Edinburgh Rugby Academy player Jacob Henry will start in place of Rory Steele having returned from the Commonwealth Games.
Henry aligned to the Southern Knights at the start of the season, but has been traded to Heriot’s with academy second-row Jamie Campbell heading the other and he will certainly bring pace and an attacking threat to their side. Tighthead prop Euan McLaren comes onto to the bench in place of Struan Cessford.
“Jake Henry will make his debut for Heriot’s and he looks in excellent form returning from a very impressive Commonwealth Games with Scotland Sevens,” Gillies said. “This is the first time in as long as I can remember that we have been able to name the same starting forward pack. This is down to the hard work of the players and the excellent medical team we have here at Heriot’s.
“It feels like a lifetime since we have played a home game and it has made us all really appreciate how special it is to play at Goldenacre on these big occasions.
“Watsonians are unbeaten in a number of games and look the outstanding team in the competition again. Ferg Pringle has managed to build an incredibly balanced and high performing squad who have a winning habit, however we are starting to build some confidence and if we start to capitalise on some of the opportunities that we are creating, we know that we have enough to stop this Watsonians juggernaut.
“Even this early in the season this feels like a huge opportunity for us to establish ourselves as play-off contenders in the FOSROC Super6 Championship.”
Watsonians once again showed their dogged determination last week to turn around a 13-3 deficit to the Ayrshire Bulls to win with a bonus point. For this one, Jason Baggott starts at 10, so skipper Lee Millar moves to 12 replacing the unavailable Connor Eastgate.
Rory Brand replaces Murray Scott at nine having recovered from injury with the latter moving onto a bench that includes the returning Joe Reynolds.
Up front, Bobby Bratton replaces Gregor Scougall at tighthead prop, while fit-again loosehead prop Cole Lamberton and second-row Jamie Berrisford join Scougall on the bench.
“We’re really looking forward to the challenge of going down to Goldenacre to take on Heriot’s,” Pringle said. “Heriots have put in two strong performances in the first two games with their set piece and kick transition game really standing out. Our focus is really on ourselves, we know we have to be very disciplined and focused on our execution.
“We’re determined to improve on aspects of our game from last week and will need to in order to get a result at Goldenacre.
Heriot’s (versus Watsonians @ Goldenacre, Saturday 4.30pm): D King; J Henry, N Godsmark, K Browne, S Pecqueur; B Houston, J Gelderbloom; C Keen, C Fenton, D Gamble, R Seydak, R Leishman©, L Govenlock, I Wilson, J Mann. Subs: M Liness, J Scott, E McLaren, F Hastie, J Britton, M McAndrew, R Jones, F Jones.
Watsonians: H Paterson; L MacPherson, L Berg, L Millar©, A Guthrie; J Baggott, R Brand; H Courtney, C Davies, B Bratton, L Ball, K van Niekerk, S Cecil, K Main, I Moody. Substitutes: C Wilson, C Lamberton, G Scougall, J Berrisford, N Irvine-Hess, M Scott, J Reynolds, D Coetzer.
Referee: Ian Kenny.
Key battle: Jacob Henry versus Angus Guthrie.
Verdict: Games between these two clubs are always keenly fought affairs and with both having had good wins last weekend this one should be a cracker. Consistency in selection is key for any team hoping to do well and both have that while the inclusion of the exciting Jacob Henry is a positive one for Heriot’s. Expect the 80 minutes to be packed full of incidents and tries – the strength of the Watsonians bench and their ability to win key moments may just get them home.