BOROUGHMUIR BEARS have been boosted by the availability of Glasgow Warriors back-three men Rufus McLean and Josh McKay as they head across the capital on Saturday lunchtime to face Heriot’s in the Super6 Championship.
This match at Goldenacre pits fourth against third in the table and both Edinburgh sides will want a win to edge themselves closer to securing a play-off semi-final spot.
When they met at Meggetland on September 2, the Bears came out on top 26-17.
The Bears were disappointed with their showing in defeat at Watsonians last time out, but the release of McLean and McKay should perk them up. They have replaced Joe Jenkins and the benched Adam Scott at 11 and 15 respectively with Callum Ramm making up the back-three.
Glasgow academy centre Duncan Munn, who has impressed for the Bears previously, starts at 12 after his rest period following under-20s action.
Up front, Glasgow pro Gregor Brown starts at No 8 while captain Craig Keddie returns at number seven. Marcus Goodwin was injured last weekend, so Martin McGinley is at tighthead prop. Edinburgh Rugby academy player Mike Jones covers loosehead prop from the bench.
“Whilst the break was much needed, it unfortunately stalled the progress that we were making in the competition, albeit Watsonians were always likely to be a tough test whatever the circumstances,” head coach Graham Shiel said.
“It has been a tough week for the playing group recovering from the physical confrontation to dust themselves down and get back onto the pitch ahead of this weekend’s challenge versus Heriots. This is our last away game of the regular season at Goldenacre which is always a tough place for the Bears to play.
“Whilst there were many aspects of our performance that we were happy with last week, we still lost out, so this week is about getting back in the saddle and going again, seeking improvement individually and collectively in our performance.
“Whilst we are fortunate to have players available to come into the squad, the biggest success we had in the first half of the campaign was having a settled squad, albeit very tight, and now we have challenges in trying to keep players available for the remainder of the competition which means altering selection whenever possible to keep players fit.
“We struggled to find the form last week that had served us well in the first rounds of games, so it is still work in progress to find an 80 minute performance and consistency over a succession of games. This weekend it is important to be more accurate in attack and find ways to be harder to break down in defence.”
Heriot’s skipper Ruairidh Leishman is unavailable due to a concussion, so stand-off Bruce Houston will captain the home side, while Callum Anderson switches to the blindside and Iain Wilson makes a welcome return to start at openside.
Wilson and hooker Michael Liness will be making their 30th appearances for Heriot’s at Super6 level while Edinburgh academy prop Dan Gamble gets a start at tighthead prop.
There is an entirely new centre partnership as Cammy Hutchison is released by Edinburgh and he is alongside Scotland Sevens player Matt Davidson, withNyle Godsmark moving to the wing.
On the bench is teenage hooker Elliot Young who has now joined the Heriot’s Super6 squad on a permanent basis from Heriot’s Blues as a long-term injury replacement for Cammy Fenton.
Glasgow Hawks have once again been kind enough to release Ruairidh Hart and Euan McAra to be replacements, while Sam Wallace, who played well for Heriot’s Blues last week, is wearing 20.
“We were extremely happy to leave The Greenyards with five points last Friday night, we came through a lot of adversity last week and that felt like an appropriate reward for everyone’s hard work,” co-coach Fin Gillies said.
“However, there is no rest for the wicked and we are excited to right some wrongs against Boroughmuir. It is exciting to be back at Goldenacre for the early kick off on Saturday, hopefully a big crowd comes along to watch what should be an excellent contest.
“We were extremely disappointed with how we performed against the Bears last time. When we last met, we got sucked into a chaotic style of rugby that the Bears thrive on, so we will be looking for more patience and control this time around.
“The Bears have threats all over the pitch and with the additions of Rufus McLean and Josh McKay we know we are going to have to be ‘on it’ to keep these guys quiet.”
Heriot’s (versus Boroughmuir Bears @ Goldenacre, Saturday 1pm): D King; N Godsmark, M Davidson, C Hutchison, S Pecqueur; B Houston©, J Gelderbloom; J Scott, M Liness, D Gamble, F Hastie, R Seydak, C Anderson, I Wilson, J Mann. Subs: E Young, S Cessford, E McLaren, R Hart, S Wallace, E McAra, K Browne, B Kay.
Boroughmuir Bears: J McKay; C Ramm, R Kerr, D Munn, R McLean; J Bergin, R Swan; C McFeat Smith, I Carmichael, M McGinley, J Fisher, C Atkinson, E Ferrie, C Keddie©, G Brown. Subs: J Blyth Lafferty, M Jones, L Alessandri, L McConnell, P Bogie, M Johnstone, A Scott, K Johnstone.
Referee: Jonny Perriam.
Key battle: Cammy Hutchison versus Duncan Munn.
Verdict: This is a very tough one to call. Heriot’s battled to a win last time out while the Bears did not hit the heights versus Watsonians. There are some good pro and academy additions for both sides and if the Bears pack can win enough ball to feed the likes of Duncan Munn, Scotland cap Rufus McLean and his Glasgow Warriors team-mate Josh McKay then they may just edge an important victory here after an entertaining contest.