Super6 Sprint: Watsonians face early test of squad depth in Stirling County clash

Visitors name seven under-20s in their squad, while a flurry of late call-offs creates a headache for home coach Fergus Pringle

Watsonians and Stirling County shared the spoils in their two meetings during last year's Super6. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Watsonians and Stirling County have enjoyed some tight battles in Super6 both this season and last. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SATURDAY’S Super6 double-header in the capital kicks off at Myreside, and Stirling County have seven players under the age of 20 in their match-day 23 to take on Watsonians Rugby (kick-off is at 2pm). The part-time professional competition was put in place in a bid by Scottish Rugby to help accelerate bringing young, Scottish-qualified talent through the ranks, so it is encouraging to see County head coach Ben Cairns backing his rookies.

The youngsters involved include centre Ben Salmon and Strathallan School final year pupil Callum Norrie ,who will look to make an impact off the bench in the front-row.

The experience in the squad includes Glasgow Warriors duo Ratu Tagive and Tongan internationalist Walter Fifita. The former starts with the latter on the bench.


Edinburgh v Bath: five internationalists return for hosts but Darcy Graham drops out

Promotion to Premiership on the line as Gala host Heriot’s in National One title decider

Sprint Series: Ben Cairns urges Stirling County youngsters to grab their chance


Back-row Connor Gordon and full-back Marcus Holden co-captain the side while Adam Sinclair has had some good tussles with Watsonians in recent years whilst playing for Heriot’s, and the second-row could be key for County in this one. Former Watsonian DJ Innes returns to his old stomping ground in the centre for Stirling.

“We are really looking forward to seeing how the young men in our squad take their opportunity,” Cairns said. “These younger players will be supported throughout by an experienced core group who know what it takes to win for County in Super6, including Connor and Marcus.

“Matches with Watsonians have always been pretty close in recent times. Myreside is a great place to play rugby, the pitch is always in excellent condition and the weather forecast looks good, so we are all set for another quality game.”

 

Watsonians will be captained by Cal Davies from the front-row while Angus Guthrie is back at 13 after long-term injury with kept him out of the entirety of the last Super6 campaign.

They too have some young talent in their 23 with tighthead prop Gregor Scougall and winger, both ex-George Watson’s College pupils, starting having joined up from the Currie Chieftains.

Back-row Seb Cecil, the former Nottingham man, and stand-off Jason Baggott, the South African-born former Edinburgh pro, are the vice-captains for the hosts.

“We’ve had a tough week of injuries and other unavailability of players and had to call in a few back-up players,” head coach Fergus Pringle said. “They’ve gelled well with the team and brought great energy and everyone’s really excited to get going

“It’s been a long off season of work and preparation.  We expect a tough game, Stirling always give us a good game. It will be good to have supporters back at Myreside too.”

 

Watsonians Rugby: D Coetzer; L Macpherson, A Guthrie, J Reynolds, R Daley; J Baggott, R Frostwick; S Gunn, C Davies©, G Scougall, L Ball, K van Niekerk, S Cecil, H Fisher, I Moody. Subs: C Wilson, C Imrie, C Ramsay, K Watt, R Brand, M Scott, J Forbes.

Stirling County: M Holden©; R Tagive, B Salmon, DJ Innes, L Trotter; E Cunningham, F Burgess; C MacMillan, A Fraser, L Skinner, M Williamson, A Sinclair, H Ferguson, C Gordon©, C Cruikshank. Subs: G Hiddleston, G Breese, C Norrie, J Pow, G Arnott, H Russell, C Jardine, W Fifita.

 

Key battle: Angus Guthrie versus Ben Salmon

 

Verdict: Watsonians are missing Lee Millar through a slight injury, but have new signing Jason Baggott to control things at 10 and his link-up with Joe Reynolds in the midfield could be key. Iain Moody has been around the block a few times and is more than capable of filling the boots of the departed Sam Daly at No 8. County will want to get their strong-running pro duo of Ratu Tagive and Walter Fifita, when he comes on, good ball, while second-row Max Williamson is a young talent to watch out for. Home advantage should just get Watsonians over the line.

Home win.


Edinburgh v Bath: five internationalists return for hosts but Darcy Graham drops out

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.

3 Comments

  1. Two weeks ago, D J Innes and Hamish Ferguson played with Joe Reynolds, Ryan Daley and Gregor Scougall for Currie in the Premiership final. Tomorrow the play against each other in the Super 6. Team mates Jamie Forbes and Cairn Ramsey wait to join them from the bench. It’s a funny old game.

    2
    1

Comments are closed.