Super6 preview: Southern Knights and Stirling Wolves aim to finish with a flourish

Neither side can make the play-offs but both teams have plenty to prove

Southern Knights and Stirling Wolves bring the curtain down on their 2022 Super6 Championship seasons at the Greenyards tomorrow. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Southern Knights and Stirling Wolves bring the curtain down on their 2022 Super6 Championship seasons at the Greenyards tomorrow. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THERE is an Oktoberfest event at The Greenyards on Saturday and the Southern Knights and Stirling Wolves will both be looking to end a frustrating Super6 Championship season with a festival of running rugby of their own.

Fifth meets sixth in the lunchtime kick-off as the regular season comes to an end and for both of these clubs. It has been a struggle in recent months –  not helped by long injury lists – with no play-offs on the horizon.

Southern Knights are currently on 10 points with the Wolves on five, and even if the latter record a bonus point win here they would have to be victorious by a margin of over 56 points to overtake the Knights. However, this will be the last game in charge for the Wolves outgoing head coach Ben Cairns, so his charges will not be wanting for motivation.


Premiership round seven preview: runners, riders and verdicts

Sharks v Glasgow: Ollie Smith at full-back for Warriors as Springboks return for hosts

Edinburgh v Benetton: second debut for Duhan van der Merwe


David Colvine gets the nod at full-back for the hosts ahead of Keiran Clark this week, while fit-again duo Robbie Chalmers and Korie Winters both return in the midfield, and Kyle McGhie and Donald Crawford are at nine and 10.

Edinburgh Rugby’s Scotland cap Marshall Sykes is named in the second-row with Mike Mbaud coming in at loose-head prop and captain Fraser Renwick starting at hooker.

18-year-old loose-head Aaron Cameron joins the Knights from Newcastle University as emergency cover and he will try to catch the eye of the Scotland under-20 selectors from the bench. Jed-Forest back Mason Cullen has also been drafted in as a replacement.

“The players are in a buoyant mood ahead of the clash versus the Wolves, but we know it’s going to be another tough match which will be very tightly contested,” said Knights head coach Bruce Ruthven. “It is a day to come of age, put their best foot forwards and give the home support something to cheer about.”

Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 42)

 

Euan Cunningham moves to full-back for the Wolves in place of the injured Craig Robertson and Stevie Hamilton returns from his own injury to start on the wing. Marcus Holden is back to start at 10 and club assistant coach Sean Kennedy is released by Glasgow Warriors to start at nine.

The pack sees Rhodri Tanner starting at tight-head prop, Hamish Ferguson moving into the second-row from the back-row for the unreleased Max Williamson, and Connor Gordon returns in the back-row.

On the bench, two emergency loan players come in the form of students Sam Rainey (Stirling University) and Sam Wright (St Andrews University) covering hooker and tight-head prop respectively. Harris McLeod and Alex Thom also return to the squad.

“With the prospect of 53 players being used in 10 matches it’s been a tough old Championship for our group,”the departing Cairns said. “However, teams tend to grow stronger through adversity and we intend to show that on Saturday in what will be our last game of the season and our last game together as a group.

“The Southern Knights will be buoyed by their performance last time out at Goldenacre in a result which all but sealed our fate at the foot of the Super6 table. They have some quality young players who can score from anywhere and we know we need to stay focused for the full 80 minutes if we are to finish the season on a high.”

As well as this match there are plenty things going on both on and off the pitch as part of Oktoberfest at The Greenyards.

The other rugby action seeing Melrose Wasps under-18s playing Tynedale at 11am in the Border Semi Junior League and then Melrose’s 1st XV taking on GHK at 3.30pm in National League Division One.

 

Southern Knights (versus Stirling Wolves @ The Greenyards, Saturday 1pm): D Colvine; A Cross, K Winters, R Chalmers, B Pickles; D Crawford, K McGhie; M Mbaud, F Renwick©, R Deans, J Campbell, M Sykes, S Derrick, W Nelson, R Brown. Subs: H Morris, A Cameron, I Brace, A Ferrie, R Anderson, E Demirel, K Clark, M Cullen.

Stirling Wolves: E Cunningham; S Hamilton, B Salmon, R Southern, W Fifita; M Holden©, S Kennedy; J McKenna, G Hiddleston, R Tanner, J Pow, H Ferguson, G Arnott, C Gordon©, B Grant. Subs: S Rainey, C MacMillan, S Wright, H McLeod, C Jardine, G Christie, L Brims, A Thom.

Referee: Ross Mabon.

 

Key battle: Robbie Chalmers versus Ryan Southern.

 

Verdict: Given that the Knights won at Heriot’s last week and have home advantage, they have to start as favourites here, but the Wolves will not want to end the term with another defeat and will show their battling qualities.

Home win.


Premiership round seven preview: runners, riders and verdicts

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.