ONLY one re-arranged match in the Premiership this weekend, with Edinburgh Accies and Hawick looking to eat into their games in hand when they meet on the artificial surface at Queensferry Sports Hub, which has been chosen as the venue with the hope of getting the game played despite the arrival of Storm Ellen, hot on the heels of Dennis and Ciara.
Both sides have plenty to play for. Hawick are chasing a home play-off and Edinburgh Accies are desperate to escape the foot of the table. So, no quarter is likely to be asked or given.
Out of town, on a fairly exposed pitch in bleak conditions, and with a 3.30pm kick-off which overlaps with Scotland’s Six Nations clash against Italy, this is a tough mission for both sides – so big credit to Hawick who are bringing two buses up the road for the match.
HOW IT STANDS –
THE LOWDOWN –
EDINBURGH ACCIES v HAWICK
VENUE: Queensferry Sports Hub @ 3.30pm
Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; M Cairnes, R Campbell, R Mill, C Ramm; R Bonner, M Love; C Imrie, S Crombie, C Lacour, A Inwood, D Dinnen, C Thomson, J Sole©, J Bruce. Subs: C Black, D Anderson, R McConnell, M Sinclair, W Stephen.
Hawick: K Ford; R McKean, W Griebenow, A Mitchell, L Gordon-Wooley; A Weir, G Welsh; S Muir, M Carryer, C Bachurzewski, A Piotrowski, S Fairbairn, J Linton, B McNeil, S Graham. Subs: C Renwick, D Johnstone, J Rowley, B Donaldson, M Bannerman.
TEAM NEWS –
Edinburgh Accies: Monty Cairnes replaces the unavailable Robert Wilson on the wing and Richard Mill returns at inside centre. In the forwards, Chris Thomson and Jamie Sole return to our back-row after unavailability and injury respectively.
Hawick: Daniel Suddon is out injured which prompts a reshuffle in the back two rows of he scrums, with Shaun Fairbairn moving to the engine-room, Billy McNeil coming in at openside flanker and Stuart Graham moving to 8.
WHAT THE COACH SAYS –
“Thanks to Queensferry RFC our game against Hawick will go ahead this week and it will be great to have both the 1st and 2nd XV games on the same pitch. We certainly know the physical and set-piece challenge Hawick will bring after our trip to Mansfield Park last month. We need to make sure we impact our game on Hawick and enjoy the battle …” – Iain Berthinussen.
“Not playing rugby over the past couple of weeks pales into insignificance compared to what some our residents and our own club have been through due to the flooding cause by Storms Ciara and Dennis. Accies are fighting for survival but we know not to take them lightly as we learnt that lesson badly last season. Two good sessions this week has us prepared well …” – George Graham (Hawick)
VERDICT: Home advantage for Accies – in South Queensferry! They are down – but not out – though the on-going development of Raeburn Place continues to make life hard. Put to the sword at Mansfield in January, anything they can now snatch from Hawick would be a huge (but unlikely) bonus. Keeping it respectable and developing momentum for the crucial winnable home games against Hawks and Selkirk has to be their priority.
Seven league wins on the trot for Hawick since they were beaten by Hawks at Mansfield on 19th October – co-incidental in no small measure to skipper Shawn Muir’s recovery from injury and Wiann Griebenow’s return from South Africa. More or less certain of a spot in the play-offs – and still with a chance of a home tie – they cannot afford to let their focus slip. Daniel Suddon’s injury is a disappointment – but not a major problem with the strength in depth that has evolved over the past three or four months.