IT has been a long, hard season for Edinburgh Accies on their return to the top flight, so it says an awful lot about the team spirit at Raeburn Place that they have hung in there and managed to produce three determined performances since being walloped by Boroughmuir at the beginning of January, to defeat Hawick, push Glasgow Hawks all the way and then beat Watsonians on Saturday. The selection of four Accies players in the Dream Team this week is testament to their never-say-die attitude.
Ayr, Currie Chieftains and Heriot’s are also well-represented after underlining their play-off credentials with comfortable wins against Hawks, Melrose and Boroughmuir, respectively, plus a couple of Stirling County players following their home success against Hawick.
Starting at the back, Jamie Forbes was an assured presence when Chieftains were out of possession and a constant threat when they got their hands on the ball so is selected once again at full-back. Competition was fierce for the number 14 jersey, with Ben Robbins taking his try well and working hard throughout for Chieftains, and Logan Trotter also impressing for Stirling County, but Kerr Gossman‘s brilliant individual score edges him into the side. Hat-trick hero Paddy Dewhirst was playing on right wing, but we picked him in the 11 jersey on the basis of that being the number jersey he was wearing for Ayr.
Ross Jones was influential in both attack (including an excellent solo try late on) and defence for Heriot’s, and also kicked all five conversions to climb back to the top of the golden boot chart, so he is at outside centre. Neil Armstrong was a rock in the middle of the park for Accies so is at inside centre, just ahead of Danny McCluskey, who had three assists and defended well for Ayr.
Gregor Hunter pulled the strings for Chieftains in their convincing and well-deserved victory over Melrose so is selected at stand-off; while Harry Warr of Ayr and Kaleem Barreto of Glasgow Hawks had a fair old tussle at scrum-half in the west coast derby match at Millbrae, with Warr just edging it as part of a team which won convincingly to ensure that they will finish the regular season top of the Premiership table.
The scrum has been a problem at times for Chieftains this season, but the Malleny men really pressurised Melrose in this area on Saturday, with Argentinean Jose Sonzogni Argiro, who missed the start of the season through injury but is fit again now (provided he is given regular pit-stops by the coaching team), and making an impact in both the tight and the loose. Michael Liness is at hooker after another big shift for Heriot’s. Adam Nicol, who is a first year pro with Glasgow Warriors, was destructive in the scrum for Stirling County, made 10 tackles and had several powerful carries to earn the tight-head spot.
Callum Marshall of Heriot’s was huge in the loose and a towering presence in the line-out. He is joined in the engine-room by Michael Badenhorst, who was similarly influential on the touch-line and with ball in hand for Accies. Lars Morrice of Ayr, Fraser Hastie of Glasgow Hawks, Ruaridh Knott of Melrose and Vince Wright of Chieftains are all unfortunate to miss out.
Hamilton Burr made a phenomenal 28 tackles for Stirling County to edge out Iain Wilson of Heriot’s and Aubrey Mncube of Boroughmuir for the blind-side flanker berth. The other two back-row spots got to Accies duo Rory Simpson and Jamie Sole, who were heroic in helping their team battle into the lead and then hold on for a well-deserved victory over Watsonians.
15. Jamie Forbes (Currie Chieftains)
14. Kerr Gossman (Boroughmuir)
13. Ross Jones (Heriot’s)
12. Neil Armstrong (Edinburgh Access)
11. Paddy Dewhirst (Ayr)
10. Gregor Hunter (Currie Chieftains)
9. Harry Warr (Ayr)
1. Jose Sonzogni Argiro (Currie Chieftains)
2. Michael Liness (Heriot’s)
3. Adam Nicol (Stirling County)
4. Callum Marshall (Heriot’s)
5. Michael Badenhorst (Edinbrugh Accies)
6. Hamilton Burr (Stirling County)
7. Rory Simpson (Edinburgh Accies)
8. Jamie Sole (Edinburgh Accies)