Super6 Sprint: Heriot’s and Boroughmuir Bears set to cross swords in final fling

Fourth place is up for grabs at Meggetland in last match of mini-tournament

Robbie McCallum carries the ball for Boroughmuir Bears against Heriot's last season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Robbie McCallum in action for Boroughmuir Bears against Heriot's last season. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

HERIOT’S are out to end a frustrating FOSROC Super6 Sprint Series on a high tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon when they take on Boroughmuir Bears. Although the fourth-sixth placed play-off match is at Meggetland, it is officially a Heriot’s home game, and the Goldenacre men – whose ground is unavailable – want to show that they are much better than recent results would suggest.

Assistant coaches Stuart Edwards and Fin Gillies will take charge of Heriot’s after the announcement earlier today that head coach Andy Kelly is leaving his post. This mini-season started so well for them with wins over the Knights and Boroughmuir in April, but things have fallen away since then and they are now in fifth place, four points behind the Bears. A convincing win would therefore see them finish above their opponents and provide some sort of consolation to round off the tournament.

For this clash, vice-captain Ross Jones returns at full-back for Heriot’s meaning that Bruce Houston reverts to his more natural position of stand-off. That pushes Charlie Savala out to 12 where he links up with his Edinburgh Rugby team mate Cammy Hutchison, with Nyle Godsmark moving out to the wing.

Michael Liness and Euan McLaren are added to the front row while Keith Melbourne earns a start in the number six jersey. Danny Dineen of Heriot’s Blues comes onto the bench to cover hooker.

Gillies said:  “This is our final opportunity of the season to prove to ourselves that we are a far better team than what we have been producing on the pitch of recent weeks.

“We have trained like a team with a point to prove and everyone at Heriot’s wants to end this season with a bang. The Bears are a team flying high with confidence after three excellent victories and we cannot wait for the challenge.”

Having beaten Stirling County and then the Southern Knights (twice) in their most recent outings, the Bears will be looking to head into the summer with another victory to keep them in fourth. Ruairidh Swan, Connor Allan, Ronan Kerr and Adam Scott join the starting backline for this game. Centres Allan and Kerr will be making their first starts of the Sprint Series.

Teenager Jerry Blyth-Lafferty continues at hooker for a Bears side missing some Scotland under-20 squad members while Ewan Stewart and Jack Fisher come into the second row and Josh King is added to the back row.

Finn Duraj from Loretto School continues to cover hooker from the bench while Boroughmuir first XV trio Liam Habib, Calum Anderson and Cameron Hogg are the latest players to be given a chance in a Bears matchday 23.

“It has been a tough and challenging competition for the Bears and keeping players available and fit is becoming quite an art form at this level of competition,” Bears head coach Graham Shiel said.

“The squad continue to work hard to make improvements and the group have impressed this week with their focus and purpose at training to take into the game versus Heriot’s.

“The last time we played Heriot’s we competed very well for large parts of the game, but ultimately fell away which was disappointing for the group.

“We know Heriot’s possess threats throughout the team with a very experienced and strong forward pack along with a backline that possess professional experience, physicality, pace and power, so it is going to be a tough afternoon for the Bears and it will test the players’ steel.”

Heriot’s (versus Boroughmuir Bears at Meggetland, Saturday @ 2pm): R Jones; N Godsmark, C Hutchison, C Savala, S Pequeur; B Houston, M McAndrew; C Keen, M Liness, E McLaren, R Seydak, F Hastie, K Melbourne, I Wilson, R Leishman©. Subs: D Dineen, D Gamble, J Scott, S Johnstone, J Campbell, C Anderson, B Kay, Z Smith.

Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown; A Scott, R Kerr, C Allan, J Jenkins; H Mercer, R Swan; C Smith, J Blyth-Lafferty, M McGinley, E Stewart, J Fisher, J King, S McGinley©, T Andrews. Subs: F Duraj, B Sweet, M Goodwin, M Mncube, L Habib, M Johnstone, C Anderson, C Hogg.

Referee: Ian Kenny.

Key battle: Ruaridh Leishman versus Trystan Andrews.

Verdict: The Bears come into this as the form team between the two and looking for a fourth win on the spin. They have also blooded plenty of youngsters in this competition which has been great to see. However, you get the feeling that Heriot’s have a point to prove here after recent losses and following the news that head coach Andy Kelly is leaving. To get a victory their big players like skipper Ruairidh Leishman, Bruce Houston and Cammy Hutchison will have to lead from the front. Heriot’s win.

About Gary Heatly 238 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.