THE long wait is over, with Super6 – the new part-time professional league which has been set up to sit above the club game in Scotland – launching tonight [Friday] when Boroughmuir Bears hosting Stirling County at Meggetland this evening, followed by Southern Knights hosting Watsonians tomorrow and Ayrshire Bulls versus Heriot’s on Sunday [streamed live on the BBC Scotland website].
All three matches represent steps into the unknown for the competing teams. The Bears have been desperate to play down expectations this week, pointing out that their parent club managed only one win [in a dead-rubber at the end of the campaign against Melrose] against any other Super6 parent club during last season’s Premiership campaign, but this is, of course, a brand new competition with around half of every squad consisting of new recruits, so that really isn’t any sort of meaningful marker in terms of predicting how tonight’s match will go.
BOROUGHMUIR BEARS v STIRLING COUNTY
The Bears field a number of Meggetland favourites, including Greg Cannie at inside centre, captain Chris Laidlaw at stand-off, Dan Winning at tight-head prop, second-row Callum Atkinson and No 8 Craig Keddie, plus Tom Wilson and Gavin Parker on the bench, while the likes of full-back Glen Faulds, Cammy Gray, Kyle McGhie and Scott McGinley have been recruited from other Premiership clubs .
There are also a number of new faces like Italian centre Elia Zampolli, hooker George Shannon and French second-row David Medjebeur. Glasgow Warriors pros Bruce Flockhart and Charlie Capps are on the bench.
Stirling County have also been boosted by the mysterious pro draft, which has not yet been explained, with Brandon Thomson, Adam Nicol and Adam Ashe in their starting XV. Among the new faces in the visiting team’s ranks is Australian centre Landon Hayes, scrum-half Caleb Korteweg from Waikato, who has previously been part of the New Zealand Under-20s training squad, and flankers Ollie Bartlett [from England] and Dean Taylor-Menzies [from Australia].
SOUTHERN KNIGHTS v WATSONIANS
Australian-born winger Joe Jenkins, who has represented Wales at 7s, is the only member of the Southern Knights backline who has not previously represented parent club Melrose in the Premiership. In the pack, former Gala prop Ewan McQuillan who has returned north after stints with London Scottish and Yorkshire Carnegie, wears the No 3 jersey, Dalton Redpath [formerly of Hawick] is in the second-row, and former Saracens Academy prospect Dylan Taylor is worth keeping an eye on at open-side flanker.
Three Currie Chieftains converts in full-back Jamie Forbes, inside-centre Joe Reynolds and scrum-half Roan Frostwick, congregate in an exciting looking Watsonians back-line which also includes former George Watson’s schoolboy Lewis Berg, who has returned home from Northumbria University, at outside centre. South African second-row Brian Leitch and Singapore-born/New Zealand-raised Morgan Inness, fresh from a year playing in Russia, is at No 8.
AYRSHIRE BULLS v HERIOT’S
Matt Davidson, who has returned to his old stomping ground from London Scottish, is at full-back for the Bulls, and Craig Gossman has returned from Boroughmuir on the wing, with Glasgow Warriors pro Robbie Nairn taking the final back-three slot. New Zealander Tyler Beary is at outside centre, while the inside backs triumvirate of Danny McCluskey, Frazier Climo and Harry Warr are all familiar faces to the Millbrae faithful.
Gordon Reid adds some World Cup glamour at loose-head prop, in a front-row which also includes Australian recruit Sam Kitchen and Argentinean tight-head Nicolas Griffiths. George Bordill, younger brother of club legend Will, occupies the second-row alongside Marshall Sykes, with Graham Geldenhuys lining up alongside captain Pete McCallum and vice-captain Blair MacPherson in the back-row.
Former Heriot’s schoolboy and Currie Chieftains centre Cameron Hutchison returns from SRU partnership club Stade Nicois to wear the No 12 jersey for the visitors, while James Couper – previously of Glasgow Hawks – is the other new face in the back-line. Prop Andrew Nimmo (from Glasgow Hawks) and second-row Ronan Seydak (from Edinburgh Accies) join the established ‘Nails’ in the pack.