Super6: Stirling County and Boroughmuir Bears plan to push winter blues aside under the Oriam roof

Coaches Ben Cairns and Graham Shiel have challenged their respective teams to seize the opportunity of playing indoors on a state of the art surface

Super6 launched with a narrow Stirling County win over Boroughmuir Bears at Meggetland. Image: Bryan Robertson
Super6 launched with a narrow Stirling County win over Boroughmuir Bears at Meggetland. Image: Bryan Robertson

STIRLING COUNTY  head coach Ben Cairns expects a “really high tempo and exciting brand of rugby” to be seen at the Oriam on Saturday when the first FOSROC Super6 match to be played indoors takes place. Tickets are available on the door for this match, which kicks off at 2.30pm.

The match against the Boroughmuir Bears has been moved to the Heriot-Watt University facility on the outskirts of Edinburgh because County’s Bridgehaugh ground is unplayable. With the two sides already destined to finish in the basement slots of the regular season table – meaning they will play each other twice again the fifth/sixth place play-offs during March – the clash is perhaps not the glamour contest of the weekend, but the venue adds some intrigue.

Cairns was head coach of Currie Chieftains back in March 2018 when the Malleny Park side played in the first ever Premiership match indoors at the same venue to escape ‘The Beast from the East’, with  66 points being scored that day, and the speed of the surface and general zip of play ensuring the substantial crowd was kept entertained. He is expecting something similar this weekend.

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“As a one-off match it’s been pretty easy to get the guys motivated for this weekend,” Cairns said. “I was involved in the first ever indoor Premiership match at Oriam previously which was an excellent experience for all involved. The conditions will allow both teams to play a really high tempo and exciting brand of rugby and we’d hope the rugby public will get down to support this unique event.

“We were obviously very disappointed with how our last match went [a 31-10 loss to the Southern Knights on February 16] which put the final nail in the coffin of our top four play-off aspirations. However, the boys are really up for showing how good we can be in our final few matches of the season.”

The experienced scrum-half Sean Kennedy is back fit so starts for Stirling with Andrew Goudie coming in at 10 and Brandon Thomson, the Glasgow Warriors man, continues his recovery from an injury by starting at 15. Charlie Brown starts at tight-head prop with a number of forwards missing due to injury and others having to step-up.

Meanwhile, loose-head prop Michael Downer and second-row Callum Atkinson return to boost the Bears pack. Gavin Parker is back from injury at full-back, so Glen Faulds moves to the wing while teenager Ben Grainger, a student at The Royal High School who has been playing his rugby at Edinburgh Accies and Falkirk this season, will sit on the bench as he did a few weeks ago as ‘emergency cover’.

“Dry and still conditions to play a game in February in is a bit of a novelty and I hope that the squad enjoy the opportunity to express themselves at the Oriam,” said Bears head coach Graham Shiel.

“There were some positives in our performance versus Ayrshire Bulls [in a 40-17 loss last Sunday in Queensferry] which we can take into our game versus Stirling County.

“We played County in the first game of the tournament, which seems a long time ago, but we now face the prospect of playing each other three times in the next five weeks.”

Teams –

Stirling County (versus Boroughmuir Bear, Saturday, at the Oriam, kick-off: 2.30pm): Brandon Thomson; Ewan MacGarvie, Landon Hayes, Craig Jardine, Logan Trotter, Andrew Goudie, Sean Kennedy; Billy Dineen, Reyner Kennedy©, Charlie Brown, Ollie Bartlett, James Pow, George Arnott, Conor Gordon, Dean Taylor-Menzies. Subs: Angus Fraser, Adam Wood, Fergus Bradbury, Josh King, Bryce Robertson, Caleb Korteweg, Josh Henderson, Robbie Kent.

Boroughmuir Bears: Gavin Parker; Glen Faulds, Ronan Kerr, Archie Russell, Jordan Edmunds; Chris Laidlaw©, Murray Johnstone; Michael Downer, Toby Francombe, Dan Winning, Ewan Stewart, Callum Atkinson, David Medjebeur, Scott McGinley, Craig Keddie. Subs: George Shannon, AP McWilliam, Martin McGinley, Will Inglis, Tom Drennan, Ben Grainger, Cameron Scott, Greg Cannie.

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About Gary Heatly 235 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.