Tennent’s Premiership preview – runners, riders and verdict for 12th February

Only two games going ahead with Musselburgh hosting Glasgow Hawks and Hawick hosting Aberdeen Grammar

Musselburgh host Glasgow Hawks at Stoneyhill in the Premiership tomorrow. Image: Ann Burns
Musselburgh host Glasgow Hawks at Stoneyhill in the Premiership tomorrow. Image: Ann Burns

ABERDEEN GRAMMAR are entering the last chance saloon on Saturday, they need a win away to Hawick or else their time in the Tennent’s Premiership will officially come to an end.

The men from the Granite City have had a torrid campaign to date and make the long trip south to the Borders for this rearranged fixture with just nine points on the board from 15 games.

That leaves them 13 shy of second bottom Selkirk with Grammar having just 15 to play for, so they have to cause a massive upset at Mansfield Park or they will be officially down.


Wales v Scotland: Gregor Townsend looks for big impact from relegated front-row

Leinster v Edinburgh: international backs return for Dublin visit

Glasgow v Munster: Sam Johnson returns to club duty after Calcutta Cup heroics


In all likelihood it is a case of when, not if, their bottom spot is confirmed, but they’ll be trying their best to keep the trapdoor open at least seven more days when they take on Selkirk at home.

Hawick sit third in the table and are already safely into the play-offs. They still have a chance of securing a home semi-final and will want the five points to keep the pressure on second placed Marr.

That game is at 3pm while, earlier in the day at 2pm, eighth placed Musselburgh take on fifth placed Glasgow Hawks at Stoneyhill in the one other rearranged game with pride at stake for both sides.

The GHA versus Jed-Forest game was called off on Thursday evening due to Covid concerns in the away team’s camp.

HOW IT STANDS –

THE LOWDOWN –

MUSSELBURGH V GLASGOW HAWKS

Venue: Stoneyhill @ 2pm

TEAMS –

Musselburgh: R Hindhaugh; S Watt, R Watt, M Cimprich, G Tait; D Owenson©, L Kotze; C Owenson, J Crain, C Arthur, W Fleming, G Neil, C Pryde, J Litster, P Brown. Subs: R Haining, D Hodge, L Knight, M Oitram, R Smith.

Glasgow Hawks: J Thompson; R Flett, J Pinkerton, B McGroarty, C Kennedy; C Harrison, S Greig; P Cairncross, T McTeir, E Rintoul, S Halafihi, S Leckey©, R Campbell, L Stewart, L McNamara. Subs: I Carmichael, A Ala-gilly, J McArthur, H Hughes, M Stewart.

KEY BATTLE: William Fleming versus Stephen Leckey

TEAM NEWS –

Musselburgh: Martin Cimprich starts at 12 with Sandy Watt reverting to his familiar wing spot. Gary Neil starts in the second-row with Cammy Pryde getting a start at six following a couple of weeks off.

Glasgow Hawks: Paul Cairncross shifts from hooker to loose-head prop which allows Tom McTeir to get an opportunity at hooker. Sione Halafihi comes into the second-row which sees Rory Campbell move to the back-row. Ronan Joy’s unavailability allows Charlie Kennedy the opportunity to impress on the wing, while Ryan Flett returns from injury. Jack McArthur will look to make his top team debut from the bench.

WHAT THE COACHES SAY –

“We are looking forward to welcoming Glasgow Hawks to Stoneyhill on Saturday and with a number of clubs around us in the league there is a real focus to pick up as many points as possible to give us a good finish to the season. They are pretty physical across the team and our challenge is to negate that and take our opportunities when we have them. We are happy that our team will create chances to score points and also defend with the steel which will be needed. Set-piece is a key area, but if we can move the ball around the park well we should have chances to score…” – Graeme Paterson (Musselburgh)

“Musselburgh is always a tough place to go and the weather doesn’t look like it will be too kind. We fully expect a physical battle and will need to front up by winning the collisions and remain composed with the few opportunities that will come our way…” – Andy Hill (Glasgow Hawks)

VERDICT: These sides have not met since September when Hawks put Musselburgh to the sword 43-19. It is eighth versus fifth with just bragging rights to play for, so it should be an open, expansive game.

Home win.

 

Season Appeal 2022

We hope you are enjoying our unrivalled coverage of Scottish Rugby. While mainstream media continues to reduce its interest in the rugby family in Scotland, The Offside Line does its very best to make sure all levels of the domestic game are reported.

Our commitment to the game and sharing its stories means that we do not have a paywall, so we would ask you (only if you can!) to support The Offside Line, either with a one off donation, or with a monthly contribution.

We have been keeping Scottish rugby in the news since 2016 and will have 3 million page views this year, making The Offside Line first for Scottish rugby.

 

HAWICK V ABERDEEN GRAMMAR

Venue: Mansfield Park @ 3pm

TEAMS –

Hawick: B Donaldson; M Tait, A Mitchell, Glen Welsh, R McKean; K Ford, Gareth Welsh; S Muir, M Carryer©, R Macleod, R Smith, S Frizzel, C Renwick, C Sutherland, S Fairbairn. Subs: R Hartdegen, T Hope, M Renwick, D Lightfoot, L Gordon-Woolley.

Aberdeen Grammar: S Rutledge; A Fitzgerald, B Renton, C Buchan, D Crawford, D Russell©, P Ritchie; A Glen, S Randall, Y Ahmanache, C Walker, A Robertson, G Robertson, B Inglis, P Mulholland. Subs: F Morrison, B Perrigault, J Burnett, M Running, D Benson.

KEY BATTLE: Matty Carryer versus Scott Randall

TEAM NEWS –

Hawick: There are four players unavailable from the Musselburgh game, so in the pack captain Matty Carryer returns after an injury lay-off, Sam Frizzel gets the nod in the second-row with Shaun Fairbairn moving to No 8, Morgan Tait comes onto the wing and Logan Gordon-Woolley is added onto the bench. Also, hooker Reece Hartdegen takes up a spot on the bench after impressing for the Force [2nd XV].

Aberdeen Grammar: Steven Rutledge is in at 15 after a blistering debut last time out, Scott Randall joins at hooker again on another loan from Orkney. Duncan Crawford brings pace on the wing and Aaron Robertson adds some grunt to the pack.

WHAT THE COACHES SAY –

“We are looking forward to the visit of Aberdeen to Mansfield this weekend. They have had a tough season and will be looking to pick up as many points as they can going into the last few games and we know we will need to be at our best and put in an 80 minute performance to keep our unbeaten home record intact. We have two games left in the regular season and it’s about gaining momentum heading into the play-offs and we need to finish the season off as strongly as possible…” – Matty Douglas (Hawick)

“A really good couple of weeks at training sees us having prepared well for the trip to Hawick. Some new faces in the team gives us a fresh look to the squad…” – Ali O’Connor (Aberdeen Grammar)

VERDICT: Aberdeen need to win to stay alive, but Hawick need to win to keep their unbeaten home run going and to keep up their chances of a Mansfield Park semi-final in the play-offs.

Home win.


Wales v Scotland: Gregor Townsend looks for big impact from relegated front-row

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.