HAVING finished the inaugural Super6 season as top dogs, Watsonians will kick-off the 2021 campaign with a trip to Millbrae to take on Ayrshire Bulls next Sunday as the team to beat. There has been plenty of player turnover at Myreside during the 16-months since Covid brought the new league to a standstill just ahead of the play-offs, but head coach Fergus Pringle is quietly confident that he has got the right balance to his squad for the challenges with lie ahead.
“There is a real excitement amongst the squad as competitive rugby edges closer,” he said. “We are coming off the back of a challenging 16 months, but we have tried to use that time in a positive way, and the players have been fantastic with their effort and commitment during the period.
“We have got quite a bit of turnover in the squad from the 2019-20 season, but a lot of that turnover is positive because players like Connor Boyle, Sam Grahamslaw and Jamie Hodgson have turned fully professional with Edinburgh Rugby.
“There is quality across all of the six squads that are in the competition and that will make for lots of competitive matches over the coming weeks and months.”
The experienced Lee Millar (a former Moray, Gala, London Scottish, Hull Ionians and Rotherham Titans stand-off) will captain the Myreside outfit for a second season. Some of the other key players from that inaugural season who are back for another bite at the cherry are centre Lewis Berg, full-back Jamie Forbes, winger Lomond MacPherson, second-row Michael Badenhorst, prop Harrison Courtney and hooker Cal Davies.
Meanwhile, new recruits include former Ayr tight-head prop Steven Longwell (who is back from a stint playing for Old Glory DC in the USA’s MLR competition), tyro prop Thomas Jeffrey (who played for Jed-Forest pre lockdown), back-row Kwagga Van Niekerk (a former Scotland Under-20s cap from South Africa), scrum-half Reiss Cullen (who played for Watsonians pre Super6 and then spent three season south of the border with Bristol Bears and Doncaster Knights), utility-back Harvey Elms (who came through the prolific North Berwick rugby nursery, cut his teeth in senior rugby at Currie, and then spent two years in the Scotland 7s set-up) and winger Angus Hoffie (the 18-year-old former Scotland U16 and U17 cap).
It will be a long awaited Watsonians bow for New Zealander Angus Williams, who arrived just before the play-offs in 2020, but didn’t get a run-out before the pandemic struck, although he did manage to play a number of games for Edinburgh last season.
Watsonians Rugby squad to compete in the 2021 FOSROC Super6 –
Forwards: Michael Badenhorst, Luis Ball, Rudi Brown*, Harrison Courtney, Sam Daly, Cal Davies, Harry Fisher, Ross Graham, Thomas Jeffrey, Cole Lamberton*, Steven Longwell, Karl Main, Matias Sonzogni Argiro, Kwagga Van Niekerk, Kieran Watt, Angus Williams, Campbell Wilson.
Backs: Lewis Berg, Dominic Coetzer, Reiss Cullen, Matthew Currie*, Harvey Elms, Jamie Forbes
Roan Frostwick*, Angus Guthrie, Angus Hoffie, Lomond Macpherson, Lee Millar©, Marc Morrison, Harry Paterson*, Murray Scott, Ruaraidh Smith.
*FOSROC Contracted Academy Player