THERE are two rearranged Tennent’s Premiership matches to be played on Saturday with leaders Currie Chieftains heading to Selkirk with an early kick-off and then Aberdeen Grammar looking for their first win of th campaign against GHA at Rubislaw later in the day.
The 11am kick-off time at Philiphaugh may cause Currie some late selection issues as seven of their wider squad named are teachers or coaches at schoolboy level and have duties in the morning.
“These players are doing important work for the development of the game and it is disappointing that we were not able to find an alternative day or time to play this fixture,” said head coach Mark Cairns.
The visitors will want to get as strong a side as possible out on the pitch because Selkirk are now up to sixth in the table after a slow start to 2021-22 and have won two and drawn one of their last three games.
Grammar are 11 points adrift at the foot of the table after last weekend’s home reverse against Edinburgh Accies and eighth placed GHA travel north having won their last outing 38-20 against Musselburgh.
A full fixture card will return next weekend.
HOW IT STANDS –
THE LOWDOWN –
SELKIRK V CURRIE CHIEFTAINS
VENUE: Philiphaugh at 11am
Selkirk: K Clark; C McNeill, B Pickles, R Nixon, J Welsh; C Anderson, J Hamilton; L Pettie, J Bett, B Riddell, P Forrest, T Brown, A McColm, A Grant-Suttie, E MacDougall©. Subs: A Cochrane, J Anderson, A Renwick, A Grant-Suttie, S Clark, V Wara.
Currie Chieftains (from): Forwards: G Carson, R Stewart, G Scougall, S Fisher, C Ramsay, AP McWilliam, E McCallum, R Davies, H Ferguson, S Edwards, A McCallum, G Nelson, F Scott©, W Nelson. Backs: C Brett, C Gray, R Southern, I Sim, DJ Innes, J McCaig, G Hunter, P Boyer, F Sayers, A Hall, J Reynolds, S Hamilton, S Leto.
KEY BATTLE: Keiran Clark versus Charlie Brett
TEAM NEWS –
Selkirk: Andrew McColm and Andrew Grant-Suttie replace Callum Marshall (retired) and Robert Cook (unavailable) in the back-row. Vilikesa Wara joins the replacements with the Southern Knights man part of the Super6 Premiership player draft.
Currie Chieftains: With several players who have coaching commitments in the morning doubtful, a wider squad has been named with final selection to be made closer to kick-off.
WHAT THE COACHES SAY –
“It’s a challenge that everyone’s looking forward to. We know how hard it will be as Currie are the form team. We will see exactly where we are as a squad and how competitive we can be after Saturday …” – Scott Wight (Selkirk)
“We are relishing the challenge this fixture presents …” – Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains)
VERDICT: This was always shaping up to be a tasty game and now with Mark Cairns comments stating “it is disappointing that we were not able to find an alternative day or time to play this fixture” it could be even tastier.
Selkirk have been in a decent run of form of late while Currie’s last outing – a win over Hawick – was one of the games of the season to date.
If all key players named in the Chieftains wider squad make this one, it could just be a – narrow – away win.
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ABERDEEN GRAMMAR V GHA
VENUE: Rubislaw @ 2pm
Aberdeen Grammar: R James; D Russell, C Scott, T Aplin©, C Shepherd; S Knudson, T Morrison; C Reddish, M Schosser, G Breese, C Walker, N Coe, G Ryan, B Inglis, C Buchan. Subs: J Robertson, L Buchan, A Robertson, M New, N Brown.
GHA: R O’Keefe; S Carden, M MacFarlane, A Stirrat, S Derrick; A Goudie, G Baird; T Brogan, G Hiddleston, M Fox, J Campbell, J McCarthy©, A Kerr, S Plumridge, J Bruce. Subs: E Cavan, D Ewing, W Graham, M Johnstone, C Hynd.
KEY BATTLE: Cameron Scott versus Max MacFarlane
TEAM NEWS –
Aberdeen Grammar: Ross James comes in at full-back with Edinburgh Rugby Academy player Cameron Scott returning at centre and Tommy Morrison at nine. The pack is fairly settled with loosehead prop Callum Reddish back from injury.
GHA: Only one change in the starting line up from the last game against Musselburgh, with Max McFarlane coming in for the unavailable Charlie Lonergan in the centre. Dario Ewing and Walker Graham come onto the bench, alongside Murray Johnstone of Boroughmuir Bears, who is available through the Super6 Premiership player pool.
WHAT THE COACHES SAY –
“The squad have trained well this week and the atmosphere within the group remains determined and united. There is a positive feeling with players returning from injury that momentum is building and we can put together a performance to reignite our season. This week is a critical step on the tough journey to earning the privilege of playing Premiership rugby. The entire club is behind the squad in turning around the events of the season so far …” – Iain Stanger (Aberdeen Grammar)
“We are looking to build on a good win against Musselburgh last time out, but we know the trip up to Aberdeen will not be an easy one. Aberdeen will be looking to get a much-needed win to help their season and we will not take them lightly in this match. We have had a good couple of weeks at training and the boys are looking forward to the challenge …” – Trevor Carmichael (GHA)
VERDICT: With a settled pack, some players back in the squad and the positive pre-match words coming from forwards coach Iain Stanger, you can tell that Grammar are really targeting this game. GHA have not played for a fortnight, but only one change to the starting XV is a positive for them and they played well versus Musselburgh. Grammar are going to give this their all, but the visitors may just be too strong in the end.