This game has been postponed due to an unplayable pitch
WHEN Watsonians and the Southern Knights met in the opening round of this inaugural Super6 campaign back in November, it was nip and tuck all the way – and tomorrow’s rematch looks set to follow a similar sort of pattern.
It seems an age ago that the Knights were 13-0 up on Watsonians at The Greenyards only for the Edinburgh side to come back to win 14-13 thanks to late converted tries from Joe Reynolds and Lewis Berg. That result gave Fergus Pringle’s side a major shot of belief and since then they have become a team that has been able to adapt to situations, play some entertaining rugby and also win when they have not been at their best.
The Knights struggled in the early weeks of the campaign off the back of that loss, but they have really found their feet and have been flying in 2020 – they are definitely a team to watch out for in the title play-offs when they take place next month.
This weekend’s final regular season fixtures will confirm who out of Watsonians, Southern Knights, Ayrshire Bulls and Heriot’s will play who in the play-off semi-finals on the weekend of 20th to 22nd March.
League leaders Watsonians already know that they will be at home thanks to seven wins from nine games to date, but that is unlikely to cause them to take their foot off the accelerator. Former Scotland Under-20s loose-head prop Sam Grahamslaw and another talented youngster in No.8 Harry Fisher make their first starts for the hosts. Second-row Finlay Simpson and Edinburgh Rugby back-row Mesu Kunavula also come in. Brian Leitch and regular vice-captain Morgan Inness are unavailable due to injury.
In the backs, there are two changes with Ruaraidh Smith and Ali Harris starting on the wing and at scrum-half respectively, while Angus Guthrie and Murray Scott move to the bench. Winger Kody McGovern completed a move to the Ayrshire Bulls this week.
“We are looking forward to taking on the Southern Knights at Myreside on Saturday in the last round of the FOSROC Super6 regular season fixtures,” said Pringle. “The Knights have built some momentum with a run of solid performances and their pack have been in good form of late.
“We will need to be more composed and more clinical in our execution against the Knights as we look to improve on our last performance a couple weeks ago against Heriot’s.”
The Knights have their pack boosted by the return to the starting XV of loose-head prop Shaun Gunn, second-row Dalton Redpath and back-row Iain Moody. Ewan McQuillin, a former Watsonians player, is down to start at tighthead prop, but that will depend how much game time he has off the bench for Glasgow Warriors away to Leinster on Friday evening.
Scrum-half Bruce Colvine and winger Iain Sim are added to the Knights backline with exciting young player Nathan Sweeney back on the bench after recovering from an injury.
“Fergus and his Watsonians squad have put themselves in a strong position leading into the play-offs with a well-deserved home semi-final to come – they are clearly the favourites going into the play-offs,” said Knights head coach Rob Chrystie. “We are focused on ourselves and looking to continue building on the momentum we have gathered over the last few weeks.”
Before this game, Watsonians will pay tribute to club treasurer Mike Crerar who passed away just under two weeks ago aged 66 after a short illness. He will be sadly missed by all at the capital club given the phenomenal service he put in at Myreside for decades as a player, secretary and treasurer.
“Mike was a former player, but also the backbone around which the club functioned,” said club president Euan Kennedy. “As treasurer, he ensured that our finances were monitored under a microscope, but he still maintained a friendly supporting demeanour in all his dealings with the club.
“My thoughts and heartfelt condolences go to his family, wife Sheena and children Katherine and Gordon.”
Watsonians (versus Southern Knights, Saturday, at Myreside, kick-off: 3pm): Jamie Forbes; Lomond MacPherson, Lewis Berg, Joe Reynolds, Ruaraidh Smith; Lee Millar©, Ali Harris; Sam Grahamslaw, Cal Davies, Harrison Courtney, Finlay Simpson, Jamie Hodgson, Mesu Kunavula, James Miller, Harry Fisher. Subs: Ross Graham, Finn Hobbis, Nathan Borel, Michael Badenhorst, Gregor Nelson, Murray Scott, Ewan Fox, Angus Guthrie.
Southern Knights: Fraser Thomson©; Ciaran Whyte, Joseph Jenkins, Gavin Wood, Iain Sim; Jason Baggott, Bruce Colvine; Shaun Gunn, Fraser Renwick, Ewan McQuillin, James Head, Dalton Redpath, Iain Moody, Ruaridh Knott, Neil Irvijne-Hess. Subs: Russell Anderson, Calum Crookshank, Grant Shiells, Alan Gregory, Andrew Nagle, Struan Hutchison, Patrick Anderson, Nathan Sweeney.