Super6 preview: Watsonians change of half-backs for Stirling County clash

Myreside men are looking to bounce back after suffering their first defeat in 2022 against Ayrshire Bulls last weekend

Watsonians edged a narrow win the last time they faced Stirling county at Myreside during the Super6 Sprint Series in June. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Watsonians and Stirling Wolves in action in last year's Super6 Sprint. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

WATSONIANS have selected a new-look half back partnership as they aim to get back to winning ways in the FOSROC Super6 Championship on Saturday when they host Stirling Wolves at Myreside.

Last Friday evening’s loss to Ayrshire Bulls was Watsonians first in all Super6-based competitions since late 2021 and they will want to finish the first half of this campaign on a high note. Head coach Fergus Pringle has brought Murray Scott back in to start at scrum-half with Rory Brand on the bench. Scott will team up with the returning captain Lee Millar at stand-off, with Jason Baggott unavailable.

Up front, Seb Cecil returns to start at number six after a late unavailability last week. He comes in for Kwagga van Niekerk who moves to the bench and is also amongst the replacements for Edinburgh Rugby against London Scottish tonight.


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Campbell Wilson replaces Karl Main at openside while Michael Badenhorst could make a first appearance of the season off the bench.

“We’re looking forward to playing at Myreside this week having played three of our first four games away from home,” Pringle said. “We’re under no illusions about how tough the task will be as Stirling will be desperate to pick up their first win of the season. Our focus is on being more accurate and clinical in converting our opportunities.”

Wolves are boosted for this one by the availability of Gregor Christie at scrum-half with youngster Keir Singleton moving to the bench. Interestingly, Christie signed for Watsonians during the pandemic but was never able to play a game as rugby did not restart at that time.

Craig Robertson and Marcus Holden swap at 12 and 15 while Southern Knights permit player Keiran Clark is on the wing,.

The starting pack is unchanged, but on the bench front-rower John McKenna is back from injury and fellow prop Struan Cessford (Heriot’s) provides cover as a permit player. Back-rower George Arnott is also among the replacements having recovered from injury.

“Although results will suggest otherwise, we are seeing some positive signs from this group as we try to claw our way back to winning ways,” Stirling’s head coach Ben Cairns said. “In attack, our carry metres, ruck speed and tackle breaks are all positive, but ultimately, we aren’t finishing enough of the opportunities this is creating.

“In defence we are slowing the opposition ball down and pressurising the attack, but we are then falling off too many tackles leading to clean line-breaks and often seven points against. Ultimately, we need to show more consistency and regain our clinical edge.

“Watsonians are the side who have probably been the most clinical and most consistent for the last year or so in Super6, so we know the challenge doesn’t get any easier for us. It does however give us another opportunity to go out and play without the pressure of expectation and we intend to take full advantage of this.

“Myreside is a great ground to play at. The pitch is always in good nick and hopefully the rain stays away to allow both sides to go out and add another chapter to the exciting contests we have had previously.”

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Watsonians (versus Stirling Wolves @ Myreside, Saturday 5pm): D Coetzer; L MacPherson, L Berg, J Reynolds, A Guthrie; L Millar©, M Scott; H Courtney, C Davies, B Bratton, L Ball, J Berrisford, S Cecil, C Wilson, N Irvine-Hess. Substitutes: M Badenhorst, C Lamberton, G Scougall, K Watt, K van Niekerk, R Brand, C Eastgate, R Daley.

Stirling Wolves: C Robertson; K Clark, A Thom, M Holden©, C Jardine; E Cunningham, G Christie; C MacMillan, G Hiddleston, G Breese, H Ferguson, A Sinclair, C Cruikshank, C Gordon©, B Grant. Substitutes: R Tanner, J McKenna, S Cessford, H McLeod, J Hill, G Arnott, K Singleton, C Beckett.

Referee: Jonny Perriam.

 

Key battle: Neil Irvine-Hess versus Benedict Grant.

 

Verdict: When these sides met in June at Meggetland at the end of the Sprint Series, only a late converted try gave Watsonians a 24-21 win which helped them win the competition with the Wolves not far behind. Since then the fortunes of the sides has been very different, Watsonians continuing where they left off and Stirling struggling in the face of injuries and the like. The Edinburgh side will have been frustrated to lose at the Bulls last week and they should be too strong here.

Home win.


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About Gary Heatly 457 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.