AYRSHIRE BULLS head coach Pete Horne has made two enforced and one selection change to his pack for tomorrow afternoon’s Super6 Sprint Series top-of-the-table clash against Watsonians at Millbrae, with loose-head prop Andrew Nimmo and back-row Lewis McNamara replacing the unavailable Tom Lambert and Ryan Sweeney, while Mikey Scott gets the nod ahead of the benched Calvin Henderson at tight-head.
Behind the scrum, Elias Cavan returns from a knock to replace Aaron Tait on the wing, but the league’s top try-scorer will be determined to make an impact off the bench, as he did when scoring two tries against Boroughmuir Bears in round one of this campaign.
“I was extremely proud of the squad last time out [a 62-12 win away to the Southern Knights],,” said Horne. “As always, the boys put in a huge amount of effort and they got what they deserved.
“This Saturday we will need to take our work-rate and physicality up another level as we welcome league leaders Watsonians to Millbrae. Our visitors will be full of confidence, they are in fine form and had a fantastic win against Heriot’s last time out. I can’t wait to see my boys go out and express themselves against some top class opposition. I’m sure the challenge will bring the best out of us.”
Meanwhile, Watsonians head coach Fergus Pringle has tinkered with his backline, moving captain Lee Millar in from No12 to No10 and dropping Jason Baggott to the bench, swapping in Roan Frostwick for Rory Brand at scrum-half, and adding Edinburgh pro Matt Currie to the wing in place of the benched Lomond MacPherson.
Sam Grahamslaw and Angus Williams coming in as the props are the only changes in the pack, with Gregor Scougall and Shaun Gunn unavailable through injury. Former Scotland age-grade squad member Bobby Bratton is back-up tight-head having just joined from English National League One side Tonbridge Juddians as injury cover, while current Scotland Under-18s hooker Elliot Young (Stewart’s Melville College), prop AP McWilliam and back-row Gregor Nelson (both Currie Chieftains) will also provide emergency cover from the bench.
“We know the challenges of going down to Millbrae to take on a strong Ayrshire Bulls team,” said Pringle. “They will provide a real test for us as a squad across the park with their strong set-piece, smart kicking game and ability to transition and create scoring opportunities.
“We have had a real focus in this Sprint competition on improving week-on-week, individually and collectively. We know where we need to improve further and will need to produce our best in order to come out on top on Saturday. It’s a challenge that the squad are really looking forward to.”
Ayrshire Bulls (versus Watsonians at Millbrae, Saturday @ 2pm): Liam McNamara; J Shedden, B Beattie, T Jordan, E Cavan; C Townsend, C Jones; A Nimmo, A McGuire, M Scott, E Bloodworth, R Jackson, Lewis McNamara, T Brown, B Macpherson©. Subs: R Tanner, A Rodgers, C Henderson, E Bulger, J Lenac, J Knight, M Minogue, A Tait.
Watsonians: H Paterson; M Currie, L Berg, J Reynolds, A Guthrie; L Millar©, R Frostwick; S Grahamslaw, C Davies, A Williams, L Ball, K van Niekerk, S Cecil, K Main, I Moody. Subs: E Young, A McWilliam, B Bratton, K Watt, G Nelson, R Brand, J Baggott, L MacPherson.
Referee: Jonny Perriam
Key clash: Tom Jordan versus Joe Reynolds
Verdict: Watsonians are unbeaten so far in this campaign but they are beginning to look stretched, especially up front. On their own patch, and with the momentum of that big win over the Knights at their back, the Bulls should have enough to secure the win.