SCOTLAND Under-20s captain Rhys Tait will lead Boroughmuir Bears in their Super6 Sprint Series round two clash against Heriot’s at Meggetland tomorrow [Friday] night, having been added to the back-row in place of Craig Keddie. He will line-up alongside fellow Glasgow Warriors academy breakaway Gregor Brown, who made a successful comeback after 13 months out injured in last weekend’s defeat at Ayrshire Bulls, and Scott McGinley.
Younger brother Corey Tait retains his place in the Bears pack at hooker, after an impressive showing by the teenager last week, and he will pack down between loose-head Brandon Sweet, a signing from Marr for this Sprint campaign, and tight-head Martin McGinley, who also has a brother in the back-row. Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors second-row Hamish Bain partners Josh King in the home engine-room.
Scotland Under-20s outside-centre Duncan Munn returns to the side to partner Robbie McCallum in midfield, while head coach Graham Shiel has stuck with the same half-backs and that back-three as he sent out last weekend.
Iain Carmichael (Glasgow Hawks) and Chris Anderson (Boroughmuir RFC) are both named on the bench as‘emergency cover’ at hooker and loose head prop respectively, while tight-head prop Marcus Goodwin, a new recruit from Cartha Queens Park, will make his debut from the bench.
“After a tough opening round away to Ayrshire Bulls, we face top of the table Heriot’s Rugby in the first of back to back Edinburgh derbies,” said Shiel. “Heriot’s have been bolstered in their off season, so bring a threat up front that will pose problems for all teams in the competition.
“Our first home game of the season provides an opportunity to build on last week and the many positives in our performance, whilst at the same time providing the chance to challenge ourselves to make improvements in the areas that we under performed as we continue to develop and build through 2022.
Meanwhile, this is the first in a run of at least four matches on the road for Heriot’s, but they will go into the match in a confident frame of mind having picked up a comfortable win over Southern Knights in round one, and are boosted by the release of three Edinburgh squad members in winger Jack Blain, centre Chris Dean and stand-off Charlie Savala on the bench.
Head coach Kelly has tinkered with his side. The hugely experienced and reliable Struan Cessford comes in at tight-head in place of Euan McLaren, and Gregor Tait – who finished the recent Premiership regular season as the league’s top try-scorer – gets a start on the wing. Bobby Kay is a late replacement for Ben Evans on the bench.
“The Bears are a very good side and we will have to be at our best to compete with them,” said Kelly. “The coaches and players are motivated to build on our win versus the Knights last week.
Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown; A Scott, D Munn, R McCallum, J Jenkins; H Mercer, R Swan; B Sweet, C Tait, M McGinley, J King, H Bain, G Brown, R Tait©, S McGinley. Substitutes: I Carmichael, C Andeson, M Goodwin, E Stewart, M Mncube, M Johnstone, C Allan, G Faulds.
Heriot’s Rugby: R Jones; G Tait, N Godsmark, C Dean, J Blain; B Houston, M McAndrew; C Keen, M Liness, S Cessford, R Leishman©, F Hastie, J Mann, I Wilson, J Hill. Subs: D Hood, G Strain, E McLaren, J Campbell, R Seydak, J Gelderbloom, C Savala, R Kay.
Key clash: Corey Tait versus Michael Liness
Verdict: Heriot’s know from bitter experience how dangerous the Bears can be having lost two out of the three matches between the two side during the last campaign (at Meggetland on the opening weekend and then at Goldenacre in the 5th/6h place play-off).
The visitors do, however, have winning momentum, a more settled squad, a bulkier pack, what looks like a stronger bench,and three players with frontline pro experience, so should have what it takes to grind out the result.
Narrow away win.