Super6 preview: table-toppers Watsonians host Southern Knights

Visitors need to get something our of all three of their remaining regular season games in order to make the play-offs

Watsonians host Southern Knights in this weekend's Saturday evening Super6 clash. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Watsonians host Southern Knights in this weekend's Saturday evening Super6 clash. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SUPER6 Championship leaders Watsonians are back at home and will be looking to make it four wins on the spin when they host fifth placed Southern Knights on Saturday evening.

Since they lost to nearest rivals Ayrshire Bulls on August 26th, Watsonians have notched up victories against Stirling Wolves twice  and Boroughmuir Bears.

For this one they have made are four changes to the starting backs. Roan Frostwick, the former Edinburgh Rugby academy player recently back from a spell playing in Australia, gets his first start of the competition at nine with Rory Brand moving to the bench. Joe Reynolds starts at 12 with Angus Guthrie at 13, while Scotland under-20 cap Ryan Daley gets a run out on the wing.


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In the forwards, Neil Irvine-Hess replaces Edinburgh’s Ben Muncaster at No 8 and Karl Main comes in at six for Seb Cecil, who moves to the bench.

Loosehead prop Harrison Courtney returns on the bench, as does fit again stand-off/centre Jason Baggott, and Glasgow Warriors academy winger Ross McKnight is in line to make his debut as a replacement.

“The Knights are always a tough opposition and have some experienced players in key positions alongside a number of talented young academy players,” head coach Fergus Pringle said. “Our preparation this week has been focused on executing our basics well under pressure and we’ll need to do that against the Knights to put in a strong performance.

“We haven’t played many games at Myreside this season and really want to make it count when we do.”

 

The Knights are 11 points behind fourth place Heriot’s coming into this weekend and would need something pretty special to happen in the next three weeks if they are to make the play-off semi-finals. For them, Ben Pickles has come in on the wing in place Edinburgh academy player Finn Douglas, who has a hamstring injury.

Mitch Richardson, who has been playing for Melrose in National League Division One, steps up to Super6 level to start in the midfield. He is one of two Toronto Arrows players currently at The Greenyards as part of a link-up between the clubs. Kyle McGhie and Doug Crawford are at nine and 10.

Up front, Edinburgh academy player Harri Morris moves from the back-row to start at hooker. Both Knights senior hookers Fraser Renwick and Russell Anderson are on the bench. Wallace Nelson comes in at seven while Alan Ferrie starts in the second-row.

“The players are under no illusion of the task ahead at Myreside, but they are looking forward to the challenge this weekend,” head coach Bruce Ruthven said. “We know that we will need to improve on last week’s performance against the Bulls if we’re going to have a chance on Saturday.

“Watsonians will be hot favourites and possess some of the competition’s best players whilst having additional pro draft players available, so we know what we are up against.

“Once again, we have a host of stage two and three academy players representing the Knights who will be looking to test themselves against the best in the Championship. The learning that these players are experiencing is great to see and they will be better for it.”

 

Watsonians (versus Southern Knights @ Myreside, Saturday 5pm): D Coetzer; L MacPherson, A Guthrie, J Reynolds, R Daley; L Millar©, R Frostwick; C Lamberton, C Davies, A Williams, K van Niekerk, J Berrisford, K Main, C Boyle, N Irvine-Hess. Subs: C Wilson, H Courtney, G Scougall, K Watt, S Cecil, R Brand, J Baggott, R McKnight.

Southern Knights: K Clark; A Cross, K Winters, M Richardson, B Pickles; D Crawford, K McGhie; G Shiells©, H Morris, I Brace, J Campbell, A Ferrie, S Derrick, W Nelson, R Brown. Subs: F Renwick, M Mbaud, R Deans, J Miller, E Demirel, R Anderson, H Rutherford, D Colvine.

Referee: Jonny Perriam

Key battle: Cal Davies versus Harri Morris

 

Verdict: Watsonians have not hit top form in the last two games against the Bears and the Wolves, but they still recorded two bonus point wins. That is the sign of a good team for sure and it’ll be interesting to see their new centre pairing of Joe Reynolds and Angus Guthrie together. It is a big game for young talent Harri Morris at hooker for the Knights, while they just can’t seem to get a break when it comes to injuries. It’s great to see so many young Scottish players in their 23 though.

Home win.


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About Gary Heatly 301 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.