Super6 Sprint: best foot forward for Ayrshire Bulls and Boroughmuir Bears in campaign opener

Return of Gregor Brown at blindside flanker for visitors after 13 months out with a knee injury is particularly welcome news

Robbie McCallum will wear the No12 jersey for Boroughmuir Bears against Ayrshire Bulls this [Friday] evening. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Robbie McCallum will wear the No12 jersey for Boroughmuir Bears against Ayrshire Bulls this [Friday] evening. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

AYRSHIRE BULLS, champions of the 2021 Super6, host Boroughmuir Bears as the 2022 Sprint Series for the part-time professional league gets underway at Millbrae tonight [Friday]. Both teams have selected squads for this match which balance returning stalwarts from last year with new signings.

“Off the back of an excellent pre-season there have been selection headaches throughout the starting 15,” said Bulls head coach Pete Horne. “Everyone that is fit has put their best foot forward with the opportunities they have been given which has made it very difficult to decide who has the honour of opening the competition for us this season.

‘The starting 15 has a nice blend of youth and experience and our bench is loaded and ready to make a big impact. We are looking forward to welcoming Glasgow Warriors professionals Tom Lambert and Grant Stewart into our environment and I am excited to see them gain their first taste of Bulls rugby at Millbrae.”


Super6 Sprint: Pete Horne says Ayrshire Bulls are ready to carry on from where they left off

Super6 Sprint: Graham Shiel looks for steady progress from Boroughmuir Bears

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“The group have worked incredibly hard over the last couple of months and I can’t wait to see them get out and express themselves at Millbrae this weekend,” he added.

“Boroughmuir have recruited well and we know they will have improved after another pre-season together with their coaching team. They play a great brand of rugby which makes them very dangerous when they get their attack going, and they have some real X-factor throughout their squad. It should be a terrific curtain-raiser for the competition.”

Meanwhile, visiting head coach Graham Shiel has seven debutants in his starting XV with four more to come off the bench, The selection of academy prospect Gregor Brown, making his comeback after 13 months out with a knee injury, is particularly good news, with the blindside flanker having shown plenty of power, toughness and ability during his short time in the senior game before that lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Teenager Corey Tait starts at hooker with big brother, Rhys, who captained Scotland Under-20s during the recent age-grade Six Nations, named on the bench. Glasgow Warriors pro Hamish Bain is also among the replacements.

“It is the toughest of openers for the Bears, away to Ayr on a Friday night … what a chance to gauge ourselves against the current champions!” said Shiel. “Pre-season has been a bit different than normal this year, but the squad are looking forward to progressing from where they were in 2021. This game provides this group an opportunity to put a marker down from which to move forward in 2022.”

To buy tickets for tonight’s match, click HERE.

 

Ayrshire Bulls: L McNamara; E Cavan, T Glendinning, T Jordan, T Lanni; M Minogue, C Jones;  A Nimmo, A McGuire, M Scott, E Bloodworth, A Samuel, L McNamara, J Knight, B MacPherson (captain). Substitutes; G Stewart, T Lambert, C Henderson, E Bulger, T Brown, J Lenac, C Townsend, A Tait.

Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown; A Scott, S Robeson, R McCallum, J Jenkins; H  Mercer, R Swan; R Dunbar, C Tait, M McGinley, J King, E Ferrie, G Brown, S McGinley, C Keddie (captain). Substitutes: I Carmichael, B Sweet, C Smith, H Bain, J Fisher, M Johnstone, R Tait, D Munn.

 

Key battle: Tom Jodan v Robbie McCallum

Verdict: Just 14 members of this 23-strong Bulls match-day squad were involved in last year’s triumphant Super6 campaign, and only seven played in their Final win over Southern Knights, but Pete Horne appears to have recruited shrewdly and the hosts should have enough firepower to start this campaign as they finished the last – although there is more than enough talent in the visiting ranks to cause an upset given half a chance.

Home win.


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About David Barnes 2960 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

1 Comment

  1. David you got it right with your prediction!
    Was a raw wind which didn’t help with the conversions.
    Great to see such a good crowd watching pretty exciting rugby for the first game of the new season.
    The parking guys had their work cut out with the number of cars.
    The Sports Club car park across the road & the road fronting it were full with the overflow.
    Roll on the next home fixture.

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