Tennent’s Premiership preview – runners, riders and verdict for 26th November

Mad man Heatly has put his money on five away wins this weekend ...

Allan Ferrie moves from the back-row to the second-row for Selkirk versus Jed-Forest. Image: Grant Kinghorn
Allan Ferrie moves from the back-row to the second-row for Selkirk versus Jed-Forest. Image: Grant Kinghorn

IT’S déjà vu all over again in the Premiership this Saturday, as the same five matches as last weekend are re-staged but with different home advantage.

Leaders Hawick head to Musselburgh looking to do the double over the bottom side while second placed Currie Chieftains have an opportunity to increase the gap between themselves and Accies in third by making it two wins from two against those opponents at Raeburn Place.

Fourth placed Selkirk know they will find it tougher on the road against eighth placed Jed-Forest, while Glasgow Hawks, in fifth, are out to make amends at Braidholm after a poor showing versus seventh placed GHA last time out.

Last year’s champions Marr are starting to find some sort of form, but the sixth placed outfit need to start winning on the road and it’ll certainly not be easy at ninth placed Heriot’s Blues.


Premiership: fit again Aidan Bambrick ready to push on with Jed-Forest

Benetton v Edinburgh: Mike Blair makes eight changes for Treviso trip

Leinster v Glasgow: several Scotland stars return for Warriors


How it stands –

 

The Lowdown –

Edinburgh Accies v Currie Chieftains

Venue: Raeburn Place @ 2pm

Teams –

Edinburgh Accies: H Paterson; F Lindsay, R Kent, M Wallace, L Wells; J Loomes©, B Afshar; C Imrie, F McAslan, C Lacour, C Bain, S Whittaker, T Drennan, M Crowther, R Campbell. Subs: M McGinley, H Campbell, J Mills, S Broad, N Armstrong.

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; I Sim, J McCaig, A Hall, K McGovern; C Townsend, G Christie; C Anderson, R Stewart, C Ramsay, J O’Brien, E Stewart, M Vernel, G Nelson, R Davies©. Subs: E McCallum, G Scougall, J Duncan, C Meager, R Daley.

Key battle: Matthew Crowther versus Gregor Nelson.

Team news –

Edinburgh Accies: Edinburgh Rugby academy player Harry Paterson makes his first appearance of the season for Accies at full-back with Fraser Lindsay, Robbie Kent, Max Wallace and Ben Afshar returning to the starting backline. Neil Armstrong returns after a break and is on the bench. In the forwards, Fraser McAslan, Clem Lacour, Cameron Bain and Matthew Crowther return with Martin McGinley and Jake Mills coming onto the bench.

Currie Chieftains: A pretty settled pack with one change as Josh O’Brien comes in to replace the injured Will Inglis. In the backs, Gregor Christie and Glasgow Warriors academy player Christian Townsend are available and are at nine and 10, respectively. Adam Hall replaces the injured DJ Innes who requires an operation to fix a broken jaw and dropped cheekbone, and James McCaig moves to 13. Iain Sim starts on the wing after impressing off the bench last week.

What the coaches say –

“Currie certainly showed how clinical they can be last week, we have to rise to that challenge this weekend …” – Iain Berthinussen (Edinburgh Accies)

“Although we were happy with the win and five points last week, we were not satisfied with our performance and we have identified a few areas to improve this week. Accies will be looking forward to being back home after a couple of tough weeks on the road. A win for us will go a long way to securing a home play-off semi-final …” – Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains)

Verdict: This could be a tasty affair given the red card incident in the game last week while Accies at home are a different proposition than on the road. The hosts will want to get off to a quick start here, but Currie’s settled pack should allow them to get the upper hand and head towards an important victory.

Away win.

 

GHA v Glasgow Hawks

Venue: Braidholm @ 2pm

Teams –

GHA: C Hyde; L Bardelli, C Lonergan, M MacFarlane, C King; T Lonergan, G Baird; E Cavan, A Falconer, M Fox, A Kerr, K Watt, W Graham, D Ewing©, L McCutcheon. Subs: L Barron, J Low, A Barnett, F Johnston, G Mollison.

Glasgow Hawks: H Lapslie; S Graham, J Pinkerton, C Ferrie, R Darroch; G Cruickshanks, E Davey; I Carmichael, I Totic, G Strain, M Crumlish, S Leckey©, O Baird, D Sweeney, R Sweeney. Subs: P Cairncross, M Downer, L Stewart, C Harrison, E Muirhead.

Key battle: Luca Bardelli versus Ross Darroch

Team news –

GHA: There is continuity to the squad this week. The pack remains unchanged, with two changes in the backline. Euan Cunningham is unavailable and Amena Caqusau misses out following a knock picked up with Glasgow under-20s in midweek. Chris Hyde returns at full-back and he is joined in the back three by Cameron King. On the bench, the experienced Adam Barnett and Grant Mollison return to the squad.

Glasgow Hawks: In the backs, Gavin Cruickshanks regains the 10 jersey after an impressive performance for the seconds last week. In the centres, Calum Ferrie comes in for the injured Kerr Yule while James Pinkerton has recovered from his injury to start at 13. Henry Lapslie will make his debut at 15 for the 1st XV. Iain Carmichael and Mike Downer swap roles this week with the former at loose-head while Max Crumlish comes in from the bench, and Stephen Leckey is available to start and skipper the side. It’s an experienced bench with Paul Cairncross, Lewis Stewart and Callum Harrison coming back into the squad.

What the coaches say –

“Last week was a bruising game at Balgray in the first of the back-to-back Glasgow derbies, and we have prepared for the same again this weekend. The squad has trained well this week as we look to build on last Saturday’s performance. It is ‘fill the stand’ day at Braidholm so we look forward to playing in front of a big home crowd in what is sure to be another physical encounter …” – Calum Forrester (GHA)

“We were soundly beaten last week by GHA and we will need to be much better this week if we want to come out on the right end of the result …” – Andy Hill (Glasgow Hawks)

Verdict: Following a change of head coach, GHA’s away win last week was perhaps unexpected by some, but when they click they are a good outfit. Minimal changes to the starting XV this week will help them, but Hawks know a win is crucial to keep themselves right in the top four race and returning skipper Stephen Leckey may just lead them to a tight victory. James Pinkerton is an important player for them, too.

Away win.

 

Heriot’s Blues v Marr

Venue: Goldenacre @ 2pm

Teams –

Heriot’s Blues: J Henry; C Dineen, P Christie, R Carmichael, C Robertson; R Jones, G Wilson; M Bouab, D Dineen, S Cessford, S Johnstone©, L Gordon, A Johnston, I Hill, C Anderson. Subs: M Toward, A Bogle, M Keough, R Thomson, G Kirkpatrick.

Marr: C Inglis; G Montgomery, M O’Sullivan, C Bickerstaff©, S Bickerstaff; C Sturgeon©, J Scott; A Rogers, B Jardine, C Miller, D Andrew, G Reid, E Hamilton-Bulger, C Folan, F Grant. Subs: C McMillan, C Young, C Steel, G Beckwith, J Jacobson.

Key battle: Ali Johnston versus Ewan Hamilton-Bulger.

Team news –

Heriot’s Blues: Captain Robert Kay is working, Rory Steele is unavailable, and Oisin Quinn is injured meaning some enforced changes in the back division. The pack remains unchanged.

Marr: Fraser Grant, co-captain Colin Sturgeon, Greg Montgomery and Scott Bickerstaff are all back in the squad this week. Jack Scott moves to scrum-half as Grant Baird is unavailable.

What the coaches say –

“While we were frustrated when we left Fullarton Park last weekend, we also understood that we had played a good Marr team who had turned up the pressure when required. This weekend will be even tougher if Marr are able to make the high number of changes that Craig has suggested. This means we will have to tighten up even further in the areas of the game where we struggled last weekend. However, we have full clubhouse with the Ladies Lunch taking place, so hopefully a few can spill out into the jungle to lend their support …” – Phil Smith (Heriot’s Blues)

“After a hard-fought win last week, we travel to Heriot’s this week looking to improve our form away from home. Heriot’s will be targeting this game to start climbing up the table. Phil Smith will have analysed last week’s game and prepared his team well to ensure they win at home. We have focused on a few areas we need to improve upon and we have to reduce errors after we have scored points this week. We are expecting a tough, open game on a good surface at Goldenacre …” – Craig Redpath (Marr)

Verdict: Marr have won their last two and know they need to keep winning before Christmas to keep their run towards the top four going. The Troon men are not as strong on the road as at home, but having a number of experienced heads back here should help them over the line in a high scoring game. Heriot’s will miss Oisin Quinn and Robert Kay in the midfield.

Away win.

 

Musselburgh v Hawick

(for the Bill McLaren Shield)

Venue: Stoneyhill @ 2pm

Teams –

Musselburgh: R Young; J Ferguson, F Thomson, R Watt, S Watt; P Cunningham, D Owenson©; C Owenson, R Stott, N McNairn, J Campbell, W Fleming, M Badenhorst, M Outram, P Bogie. Subs: F Duraj, C Arthur, J Lister, C Champion, F Call.

Hawick: K Ford; L Ferguson, A Mitchell, E Reilly, R McKean; K Brunton, G Welsh; S Muir, M Carryer©, N Little, D Suddon, S Fairbairn, C Sutherland, C Renwick, S Graham. Subs: R Graham, T Hope, D Redpath, H Patterson, L Gordon-Woolley.

Key battle: Jamie Campbell versus Daniel Suddon.

Team news –

Musselburgh: The pack is unrecognisable from last week with the return of Craig Owenson, Neil McNairn, William Fleming (making his 200th appearance for the club) and Max Outram. Academy player Jamie Campbell is involved for the first time, and Michael Badenhorst moves to six to add some steel to the back-row. In the backline, skipper Danny Owenson returns to start at nine, and Paul Cunningham replaces Matty McMillan at stand-off. James Ferguson and Ruaridh Young return to form a partnership in the back three which was developing well prior to injuries and unavailability.

Hawick: Skipper Matty Carryer, Nicky Little, Daniel Suddon and Stuart Graham come into the pack. Shaun Fairbairn moves back to the second-row to accommodate Graham at No 8. The backline is unchanged and Tom Hope comes in to cover prop from the bench.

What the coaches say –

“Selection is my least favourite part of the week and some players can feel hard done by given the volume of changes we have made in the hope of making amends for the result at Hawick last week. Hawick are without doubt the best tactical kicking team I have seen in the league this year and so mitigating that threat, to allow us to get a foothold into the game, is essential. Our last home fixture enabled us to lean into what it means to play at Stoneyhill in front of a home crowd and we produced our most dogged and thorny performance all season with a win against champions Marr. Let’s hope we can pick up where we left off at Stoneyhill …” – Derek O’Riordan (Musselburgh)

“After a good performance last week we are keen to keep pushing on. There are still little things we need to keep improving on, but on the whole we are looking forward to this weekend. Musselburgh will have a few bodies back and will be looking to put in a big performance at home, it’s key we have the right attitude this week to allow us to keep building these 80 minute performances …” – Matty Douglas (Hawick)

Verdict: There was a 50 point gap between the sides last week, but Musselburgh beat Marr last time at home at the end of last month, so Hawick will expect a tougher game this time. If the East Lothian men can get Jamie Campbell, Michael Badenhorst and Paul Bogie carrying, they could make inroads, but the fact that leaders Hawick can bring in players like Daniel Suddon and Stuart Graham shows their impressive strength-in-depth.

Away win.

 

Jed-Forest v Selkirk

Venue: Riverside Park @ 3pm

Teams –

Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen, Gregor Young, R Yourston, R Shirra-Gibb; G Munro, A Bambrick; G Paxton, F Scott, P Ferreira, D Wardrop, C Skeldon©, Garry Young, B McNeil, D Buckley. Subs: G Clarkson, A Sweenie, J Mcgough, O Cranston, C Young.

Selkirk: Aaron McColm©; L Ferguson, B Pickles, R Nixon R Cottrell; C Jackson, J Hamilton; L Pettie©, B Riddell, Z Szwagrak, A Ferrie, Andrew McColm, R Anderson, S McClymont, M Job. Subs: J Bett, K Thomson, A Cochrane, E McVicar, C Anderson.

Key battle: Gregor Young versus Ben Pickles.

Team news –

Jed-Forest: A few changes to last week’s team. Ben McNeil comes back in at openside, Garry Young moves to six for the injured Elliot Lauder, and Dom Buckley starts at No 8. Gary Munro starts at 10 and Callum Young will look to make an impact off the bench.

Selkirk: James Head and Josh Welsh are both unavailable from last week, the former’s absence seeing Allan Ferrie moving up into second-row, with Russell Anderson starting at six. And in the backline, with Welsh out, there is a slight reshuffle.

What the coaches say –

“This week we have a chance to put right our wrongs from the previous week. Luckily, we’ve only had to wait a week. We were outplayed at every point last time out, we’ve focused on ourselves and being more clinical. We know Selkirk will compete for 80 minutes and we’ll have to be on it from minute one …” – Andrew Brown (Jed-Forest)

“After an excellent bonus point win last week, we’re looking to build on that and get closer to a more consistent 80 minutes which we’ve still not delivered. We are fully expecting a backlash from Jed this week after last week’s game and to add into that Riverside Park is never an easy place to go …” – Scott Wight (Selkirk)

Verdict: The gap last Friday night at Philiphaugh was 25 points and you can bet that it will not be as much this week, the Jed team and supporters will not let that happen. However, Selkirk’s settled pack which has been boosted by the recent availability of Allan Ferrie and Russell Anderson from Super6 should help them complete the double.

Away win.


Premiership: fit again Aidan Bambrick ready to push on with Jed-Forest

About Gary Heatly 320 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.

2 Comments

  1. Can someone explain how the allocation of super 6 and academy players are worked out. Looking like Jed-Forest don’t have any at all and not for the first time while others have a good few. All seems rather messy and unfair!!

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