Super6 preview: Ayrshire Bulls and Boroughmuir Bears both bolstered by player returns

Bobby Beattie returns for hosts, while visitors welcome back several key men

Bobby Beattie returns for Ayrshire Bulls ahead of their Super6 play-off semi-final clash versus Boroughmuir Bears. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Bobby Beattie returns for Ayrshire Bulls ahead of their Super6 play-off semi-final clash versus Boroughmuir Bears. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

KEY man Robert Beattie will return from injury for reigning champions Ayrshire Bulls in their Super6 Championship play-off semi-final against Boroughmuir Bears at Millbrae on Saturday. He will wear the 13 jersey, linking up with in-form Glasgow Warriors academy player Andy Stirrat in the midfield.

Elsewhere in the backline, Jordan Lenac and Richie Simpson replace Cam Jones and Will Hunt at nine and 10 respectively.

In the pack, the front-row has been rotated with Andrew Nimmo, James Malcolm and Michael Scott starting while, after playing six last week, Glasgow academy player Archie Smeaton is in the second-row, and Gavin Wilson starts at blind-side.


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“Boroughmuir are a quality team who are coming to Millbrae with nothing to lose, so we know we will have to be at our very best on Saturday,” said head coach Pat MacArthur. “With a vocal home support behind the team, it should bring out the best in us.”

 

The Bulls start this match as big favourites given that they won nine games and lost just one during the regular season to finish just behind Watsonians in the standings.

They thumped the Bears 47-5 at Millbrae in August, but it was closer in last week’s return leg at Meggetland with MacArthur’s side emerging 33-21 victors. The Bears were down to the bare bones with 15 players missing for that match, and they have some of them back this week as they look to cause a shock.

Teenage winger Kerr Johnston, back-row Scott McGinley, No 8 Craig Keddie come into the starting fifteen, while Corey Tait, Martin McGinley, Murray Johnstone and Callum Ramm are added to the bench.

Robbie Chalmers of Southern Knights has been brought in on an emergency loan and is on the bench, while on the negative side Edinburgh Rugby academy back-row Liam McConnell is out injured.

Glasgow Hawks’ teenage full-back Andy McLean starts again after scoring a try last week.

“We performed well last week, managing to compete well with the Bulls for most of the game,” head coach Graham Shiel said.

“We have a couple of players returning to the squad this week, but again we find ourselves requiring external support to be able to field a competitive squad which is frustrating going into the play-offs when ideally you would have built some consistency and continuity in performances and personnel.

“It is a bit of a mountain to climb for the Bears. The competition table tells the story of the season and whilst we go to Millbrae clearly aiming to reach the final, we are under no illusions around our task.

“Simply, we need to find a way to perform well enough to win five games in our performance! I am confident to say that it will not be for the lack of effort from the squad as it has been a trait of theirs that whatever is laid out in front of them, they accept the challenge for what it is – and they work tirelessly to overcome any obstacles.

“The reward of reaching the play-offs – to again play one of the two outstanding teams in the competition –gives us another opportunity to test ourselves.

“This week’s training has been consistent with our work to date, simply working on ‘what did we do well – what do we need to improve?’ Individually and collectively the players have taken responsibility for last week’s performance, have reset as a group and are preparing to go again.

“We will go to Millbrae with comfort that we have earned our opportunity and we will give it our best shot – whatever happens we can be satisfied with our achievements.”

 

Ayrshire Bulls (versus Boroughmuir Bears @ Millbrae, Saturday 5pm): Liam McNamara; A Tait, R Beattie, A Stirrat, E Caven; R Simpson, J Lenac; A Nimmo, J Malcolm, M Scott, R Jackson, A Smeaton, G Wilson, T Brown, B MacPherson©. Subs: A McGuire, W Farquhar, C Henderson, E Hamilton-Bulger, J Drummond, J Shedden, W Hunt, C Jones.

Boroughmuir Bears: A McLean; K Johnston, A Scott, S Robeson, J Jenkins; J Bergin, R Swan; C McFeat Smith, J Blyth-Lafferty, L Alessandri, J Fisher, C Atkinson, J King, S McGinley, C Keddie©. Subs: C Tait, I Carmichael, M McGinley, P Bogie, T Andrews, M Johnstone, R Chalmers, C Ramm.

Referee: Jonny Perriam.

 

Key battle: Blair MacPherson versus Craig Keddie.

 

Verdict: The Bears have a few players back from last week, but they are still without guys like Marcus Goodwin, Tom Lanni, Duncan Munn and Tom Brown. The Bulls will be very pleased to have the experience of Robert Beattie back while their winger Elias Caven is the best finisher in the competition and on home turf they are very tough to beat.

Home win.


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About Gary Heatly 463 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

2 Comments

  1. 3:15pm Saturday.
    If the rain continues as it has done, certain aspects of play could be a complete lottery – greasy surface – ball like a bar of soap…..

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