Super6 preview: Boroughmuir Bears aim to bounce back versus Southern Knights

Last weekend's victory over Stirling County will provide Borderers with confidence boost for Meggetland mission

Boroughmuir Bears and Southern Knights clash at Meggetland tomorrow [Saturday] afternoon. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Boroughmuir Bears and Southern Knights clash at Meggetland tomorrow [Saturday] afternoon. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

AFTER a tough time at Millbrae last time out and three weeks on the road in total, Boroughmuir Bears will be glad to be back at Meggetland on FOSROC Super6 Championship duty on Saturday.

The Edinburgh side will take on the Southern Knights in week four looking to find the form that saw them win on their travels at Stirling Wolves and against the same opponents from the Borders in weeks one and two of the campaign.

Last Saturday the Bears were brought back down to earth with a bump thanks to a 49-7 loss at the Ayrshire Bulls and they will hope that home comforts can perk them up.


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Up front for the Bears, Callum Smith and Marcus Goodwin rotate in for the benched props Brandon Sweet and Martin McGinley, while Iain Carmichael comes in at number seven for the injured Trystan Andrews.

Behind the scrum there is just one change in the starting XV with the experienced Tom Brown coming in for Adam Scott with the latter on the bench.

Luca Alessandri is added to the replacements and provides front five cover with fellow sub Liam Habib joining the Bears as ‘emergency cover’ from Boroughmuir’s 1st XV having made his Super6 debut during the Sprint Series. Scott Robeson has recovered from injury and is also amongst the replacements.

“It has been a mixed start to the season with two well-earned away wins followed by a heavy defeat last week,” Bears head coach Graham Shiel said.

“Whilst disappointing last week, overall, it has been a positive start to the Championship, but it will, however, take a big effort this week to get things back on track versus the Southern Knights especially with our visitors recording an excellent victory on the road last week.

“Again, we have some challenges around squad availability this week which makes things even tougher than we would wish, but regardless we push on and look for much needed improvements in our performance.

“Southern Knights have had their own challenges around availability and injuries, so it will be tough for both teams to find some continuity in their play, but we are both used to adversity and both have ambition to play an open game of rugby.

“They have a strong group of players and management with a lot of potential and, as they proved a couple of weeks ago when we last met, they have a strong set piece and a willingness to attack from all areas which makes them a threat.”

Shiel mentions that the Knights won last week and that was a big relief to all involved with The Greenyards side after losses in weeks one and two. It wasn’t pretty at times, but they got over the line 20-3 at Bridgehaugh against the Wolves last Friday and they’ll hope it can spark them into life.

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With Harry Borthwick injured, Wallace Nelson joins the back-row at seven with Sam Derrick switching to No 8. Eoin Harrison is given a start at tighthead prop.

In the backs, Scotland under-20 caps Ollie Melville and Keiran Clark come in on the wings for the benched Billy Wara and the injured Aidan Cross. Another young player, Ben Pickles, earns a start at 13 after doing well in training after long-term injury.

Erem Demirel returns from concussion to cover the middle and back-row positions from the bench while New Zealander Korie Winters comes into the squad after returning to Scottish Rugby after his stint at Edinburgh Rugby during Covid times. Edinburgh Rugby Academy prospect Finn Douglas has recovered from injury and could make a first appearance at this level from the bench. The average age of the Knights squad is just 21.

“It’s been another challenging week with losing four players from last week’s squad suffering from injuries,” Knights heads coach Bruce Ruthven said. “We know the Bears well and have not managed to get a result against them in the last three encounters, so were not expecting an easy ride up at Meggatland.

“This week will be a real test of our learnings over the past three rounds and although we have a significant injury list, we know that if we perform consistently over the 80 minutes to the levels we are capable of then we have a great chance of gaining a win

“We have had another good week at training and the boys are in a determined mood. There are some great match-ups this week especially across the midfield and front five – those battles must be won if we’re going to get a result.”

 

Boroughmuir Bears (versus Southern Knights @ Meggetland, Saturday 2pm): T Brown; C Ramm, R Kerr, T Lanni, J Jenkins; J Bergin, R Swan; C Smith, C Tait, M Goodwin, J Fisher, C Atkinson, J King, I Carmichael, C Keddie©. Substitutes: J Blyth Lafferty, B Sweet, M McGinley, L Alessandri, L Habib, A Scott, C Anderson, S Robeson.

Southern Knights: D Colvine; K Clark, B Pickles, R Chalmers, O Melville; C Scott, D Crawford; C Bowker, R Anderson©, E Harrison, J Campbell, A Ferrie, J Miller, W Nelson, S Derrick. Substitutes: F Renwick, G Shiells, Mike Mbaud, E Demirel, K Winters, F Douglas, B Wara, K McGhie.

Referee: Finlay Brown.

 

Key battle: Tom Lanni versus Robbie Chalmers.

 

Verdict: Both of these sides have struggled with injury and availability in the last few weeks and you have to admire the way their patched up squads have gone about things. It is great to see so many young Scottish players getting a chance in the Knights ranks – whether by design or necessity v while the Bears will just be happy not to be getting on a bus again! In the end the home side’s extra experience and bench strength in the forwards may just get them home.

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.