CURRENT leaders Watsonians Rugby have handed a first start of the campaign to former captain Lee Millar ahead of Saturday’s Super6 Sprint Series top of the table clash against Edinburgh rivals Heriot’s Rugby (2pm).
Stirling County could go ahead of Watsonians this evening (Friday) if they can see off the Boroughmuir Bears, but the Myreside men are the only unbeaten side left in the competition heading into the fourth round of fixtures.
It is a home game for Watsonians, but with Myreside unavailable it is being played at Boroughmuir’s Meggetland ground.
While Millar showed enough off the bench in the win over Boroughmuir last week to earn himself a start this time around, it will not be in his usual spot of stand-off, with Jason Baggott keeping the 10 jersey and Millar replacing last week’s player-of-the-match Joe Reynolds at 12, who is on the bench.
That is the only change to the starting XV while Campbell Wilson, Sam Grahamslaw, AP McWilliam and the fit-again Dom Coetzer join the bench. Loosehead prop Grahamslaw is an Edinburgh Rugby pro while tighthead prop McWilliam is ‘emergency cover’ from the Currie Chieftains.
“We head back to Meggetland this week as the home team to take on a strong Heriot’s outfit who will come into the game full of confidence as usual,” Watsonians head coach Fergus Pringle said.
“We took a lot of positives out of our performance last week against the Bears, but we also know we need to keep on improving our game and have a bit more collective consistency across a full 80 minutes.
“It’s an exciting challenge for us to take on Heriot’s and see how we match up against a form team.”
There are a number of changes to the Heriot’s starting XV after a loss at the Ayrshire Bulls last time out ended their unbeaten start.
Into the pack come props Josh Scott and Dan Gamble, second-row Ronan Seydak and Lewis Govenlock in the back-row. Seydak is a Poland international while Govenlock recently helped Heriot’s Blues win Tennent’s National League Division One and previously played club rugby for Watsonians.
Scrum-half Murdo McAndrew, centre Robert Kay and winger James Couper earn starts behind the scrum.
Loosehead prop Angus Munro joins the bench while Edinburgh Rugby pro Charlie Savala could feature from there too.
“This is a great challenge for our squad, Watsonians have played three and won three so are going really well,” Heriot’s head coach Andy Kelly said.
“They have a very settled team with great players from one to 15 while their game management is excellent and their backs put them into great position with their kicking game.
“We need to counter that kicking game and nullify their big pack to be in with a chance of winning the game. We will be looking to improve on some areas of our game from last week and we are looking to play as much as we can and are looking forward to the game at Meggetland.”
- The match will be on the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer and the Scottish Rugby website.
Watsonians Rugby (versus Heriot’s Rugby at Meggetland, Saturday @ 2pm): H Paterson; L MacPherson, L Berg, L Millar, A Guthrie; J Baggott, R Brand; S Gunn, C Davies©, G Scougall, L Ball, K van Niekerk, S Cecil, K Main, I Moody. Subs: C Wilson, S Grahamslaw, AP McWilliam, K Watt, H Fisher, R Frostwick, J Reynolds, D Coetzer.
Heriot’s Rugby: R Jones; J Couper, R Kay, N Godsmark, S Pecqueur; B Houston, M McAndrew; J Scott, M Liness, D Gamble, R Seydak, J Campbell, R Leishman©, L Govenlock, J Mann. Subs: D Hood, A Munro, E McLaren, F Hastie, J Hill, J Gelderbloom, C Savala, G Tait.
Referee: Ruairidh Campbell
Key clash: Karl Main versus Lewis Govenlock
Verdict: Clashes between these two clubs at any level always have an edge and this game is likely to be no different.
Given the attrition rate in this level of rugby, Watsonians head coach Fergus Pringle will be delighted to be able to make just one selection-based change to the starting XV and there is an experienced spine leading them through games this season.
One defeat, away to last year’s champions, does not make Heriot’s a bad team and they have impressed enough in their three games to date to show that they will be battling it out for the title. It is a big day for Lewis Govenlock in a re-worked back-row while Murdo McAndrew will look to grab his chance at nine.
A tight home win.