Tennent’s Premiership preview – runners, riders and verdict for 9th October

Four out of the top five clubs in the division at the moment are looking to pick up rare wins on the road this weekend

GHA visit Edinburgh Accies this weekend. Image: Colin Robinson
GHA visit Edinburgh Accies this weekend. Image: Colin Robinson

COULD this be the weekend that the away day blues are lifted in the Tennent’s Premiership or will home comforts continue to rule?

To date, in 22 top flight games this term there have only been three away wins: Glasgow Hawks at Jed in week three, plus Marr and Jed at GHA and Aberdeen Grammar in week four.

This weekend sees the likes of leaders Marr and second placed Currie Chieftains on the road and determined to post away triumphs at Selkirk and Glasgow Hawks, respectively, while Musselburgh, Hawick and GHA are also on their travels to Jed, Aberdeen Grammar and Edinburgh Accies.

The game of the round looks like being at Balgray where third placed Hawks take on the Chieftains, but the whole card looks fascinating with plenty to look forward to this Saturday.


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HOW IT STANDS –

THE LOWDOWN –

JED-FOREST V MUSSELBURGH

VENUE: Riverside Park @ 3pm

TEAMS –

Jed-Forest: L Young; M Cullen, Gregor Young©, R Marshall, R Shirra-Gibb; G Munro, N Stingl; G Paxton, F Campbell, H Meadows, D Wardrop, C Skelton, Garry Young. B McNeil, D Buckley. Subs: S Anderson, P Ferreira, G Law, B Roff, A Bambrick.

Musselburgh: R Hindhaugh; S Watt, R Smith, R Watt, G Tait; P Cunningham, D Owenson©; P Brown, C Owenson, C Arthur, W Fleming, D Slaven, M Maltman, M Crawford, J Lister. Subs: R Stott, N McNairn, J Haynes, L Kotze, T Foley.

KEY BATTLE: Nik Stingl versus Danny Owenson

TEAM NEWS –

Jed-Forest: Dan Wardrop and Clark Skeldon start in the second-row after Ben Howe and Andrew Sweenie picked up injuries at Marr, with Gregor Law coming onto the bench after long-term injury. Steven Anderson and Blake Roff also come onto the bench.

Musselburgh: With some guys back, some shirts were keenly fought over. Craig Owenson replaces the injured Ross Gregor at hooker, Declan Slaven moves from No8 to the second-row, and Michael Maltman and Michael Crawford join the back-row. Rory Smith replaces the injured Lucas Brook at centre.

WHAT THE COACHES SAY –

“After two away games at Aberdeen and Marr, it’s good to be back at Riverside, a pre-match lunch for former players will give plenty support to the team …” – Scott Tomlinson (Jed-Forest)

“There is no doubt that Jed have been improving game on game having watched the videos and some of their loses could easily have been wins. The way that they play means that we will have to be on our guard all across the park and defend well to close down opportunities. Having the likes of Michael Maltman back is a big boost to us as the whole squad looks to take another step in our development as an established Premiership outfit …” – Graeme Paterson (Musselburgh)

VERDICT: A very intriguing match-up this one. Jed have won just one from four, but with former players cheering them on, they are going to be tough to beat on their own patch. Musselburgh will know they have to improve from their last away performance at Hawks to get anything out of this one, but with a few key players back they have an experienced looking spine to their team.

A narrow 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.

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EDINBURGH ACCIES V GHA

VENUE: Raeburn Place @ 3pm

TEAMS –

Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; H Janes, R Kent, W Stephen, M Sinclair; J Loomes, B Afshar; C Imrie, F McAslan, C Lacour, J Mills, A Inwood, F Simpson, J Sole, M Walker, R Campbell©. Subs: R Montgomery, G Stevenson, C Reid, J Troup, M Wallace.

GHA: G Mollison; L Bardelli, C Lonergan, M MacFarlane, S Carden; C Armstrong, G Baird; T Brogan, G Hiddleston, M Fox, A Kerr, J McCarthy©, W Alton, W Graham, L McCutcheon. Subs: K Chirnick, L Archer, J Bruce, R MacFarlane, R O’Keefe.

KEY BATTLE: Matt Walker versus Walker Graham

TEAM NEW –

Edinburgh Accies: In the backs, Ben Appleson reverts to full-back, Will Stephen comes in at centre, Jamie Loomes returns to stand-off and Max Wallace drops down to the bench. Up front, Fraser McAslan returns at hooker, Clem Lacour gets a start at tighthead, Angus Inwood moves to the second-row and Jamie Sole starts at blindside. Ryan Montgomery comes onto the bench alongside Callum Reid, who is available after being on Police Scotland rugby duty.

GHA: A couple of changes in the backs with Ciaran Armstrong in for the injured Jamie MacKinnon at 10, and Luca Bardelli coming in on the wing. No changes in the pack this week, but Lyall Archer and Kirill Chernick come onto the bench.

WHAT THE COACHES SAY –

“A disappointing performance at Malleny Park last week but I look forward to the reaction of the squad this weekend at home against a strong GHA who are performing well. We look forward to welcoming Jamie McCarthy and Jack Bruce back to Raeburn Place, two good club men …” – Iain Berthinussen (Edinburgh Accies)

“It was great to get things back on track last week winning against Selkirk and we are looking forward to the game this weekend against Edinburgh Accies. We were with happy how we played last week, but have worked on and built on a few elements of our game at training this week. Edinburgh Accies always bring a fast/hard style of rugby, as we do, which always creates a great game between the teams. Really looking forward to this weekend and the challenges it brings …” – Trevor Carmichael (GHA)

VERDICT: GHA travel east with a spring in their step after they saw off Selkirk comfortably last time out. Accies were well beaten at Malleny Park last week, but not many sides will go there and win this term. This will be a real battle between two sides with top four aspirations, but home advantage may just help Accies shade it.

Home win.

 

ABERDEEN GRAMMAR V HAWICK

VENUE: Rubislaw @ 3pm

TEAMS –

Aberdeen Grammar: R Cameron; B Renton, D Russell, T Aplin©, C Shepherd; A Addy, T Morrison; C Reddish, B Inglis, M Schosser, C Walker, J Robertson, G Ryan, G Robertson, C Buchan. Subs: C Robertson, S Renfrew, P Mulholland, S Ryan, S Knudson.

Hawick: B Donaldson; M Tait, K Ford, Glen Welsh, R McKean; K Brunton, Gareth Welsh; T Hope, M Carryer©, R Macleod, R Smith, S Fairbairn, C Tait, C Renwick, J Linton. Subs: N Little, S Frizzel, S Graham, C Sutherland, D Lightfoot.

KEY BATTLE: Greig Ryan versus Corey Tait

TEAM NEWS –

Aberdeen Grammar: Ben Inglis is back at hooker after his marathon exploits and, after a solid introduction off the bench last week, Glenn Robertson gets his chance at seven. Ben Renton takes the place of Nathan Brown, who picked up a knock during a midweek university game, on the wing.

Hawick: More injuries from last weekend mean another shuffle of the starting team. Kyle Brunton and Glen Welsh come into the backline due to injuries to Aaron Redpath and Logan Gordon-Woolley. Teenager Corey Tait starts at six meaning Stuart Graham moves to the bench, where Nicky Little, Sam Frizzel and Connor Sutherland are back.

WHAT THE COACHES SAY –

“There is no hiding from it, we need points and need them quickly. Hawick are a powerful side and will pose a huge challenge for us on Saturday so we will have to meet them physically and be our best to secure points …” – Ali O’Connor (Aberdeen Grammar)

“A massive game ahead this weekend against Aberdeen at Rubislaw. We know how tough they are at home and they will be very much looking to kick start their season against us on Saturday. It was another solid performance at home last week, but you can’t be a top four side if you only win home games, and we need to start picking points up on the road, so we are fully aware of this and the players know what’s needed when we head away from Mansfield Park. The challenge is to be competitive for 80 minutes and implement how we want to play …” – Matty Douglas (Hawick)

VERDICT: Aberdeen have lost all four games so far and know they need to get a win soon, so they will be fired up. Hawick toughed out a good win against Glasgow Hawks last weekend and know they have to be better away from home. If Hawick’s young players can rise to the challenge they could make their long bus trip worthwhile.

Away 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.

 

GLASGOW HAWKS V CURRIE CHIEFTAINS

VENUE: Balgray @ 3pm

TEAMS –

Glasgow Hawks: J Thompson; T Glendinning, B McGroarty, M Stewart, R Joy; L Brims, F Burgess; M Downer, I Totic, G Strain, S Leckey©, J McLean, L Stewart, T Brown, L McNamara. Subs: T McTeir, M Ogunlaja, S Hastings, M Donaldson, Y Alagilly.

Currie Chieftains: C Brett; C Meagher, A Hall, DJ Innes, J McCaig; G Hunter, C Lessels; AP McWilliam, G Carson, G Scougall, R Davies, H Ferguson, G Nelson, F Scott©, W Nelson. Subs: R Stewart, C Roman, A McLean, C Gray.

KEY BATTLE: Gary Strain versus AP McWilliam

TEAM NEWS –

Glasgow Hawks: The entire bench from last week comes into the starting XV. Liam Brims moves from full-back to stand-off with Jamie Thompson making his first start at 15. Thomas Glendinning is fit again and starts on the wing. The bench sees Matt Donaldson and Sebastian Hastings coming in to make their Hawks debuts, while Tom McTeir will make his first outing of the season.

Currie Chieftains: A settled team again this week. The starting forwards remain unchanged while in the backs, Adam Hall and James McCaig start after impressing off the bench last week. Cody Roman has joined the club from Southern Districts in Sydney and is on the bench.

WHAT THE COACHES SAY –

“While the result last week was disappointing, the performance did not meet the standards we have set ourselves. Currie are one spot above us and Mark and Ally have them playing a very good brand of rugby which should make for an entertaining game …” – Andy Hill (Glasgow Hawks)

“We are looking forward to testing ourselves on the road again after losing to Hawick in round one. Hawks are yet to drop points at homes so it’s a challenge we are excited about …” – Mark Cairns (Currie Cheiftains)

VERDICT: By Andy Hill’s own admission, Hawks did not play to their potential last week at Hawick and the raft of changes he has made show that. Currie have won their last three games – all at home – and they will want to take that form on the road. Hawks are a good side, but the more settled look to the Chieftains, especially up front, could get them over the line.

Away win.

 

SELKIRK V MARR

VENUE: Philiphaugh @ 3pm

TEAMS –

Selkirk: C Anderson; F Anderson, B Pickles, R Nixon, C McNeil; S Clark, J Hamilton; L Pettie, J Bett, B Riddell, D Nicol, T Brown, A McColm, S McClymont, E MacDougall©. Subs: K Thomson, J Anderson, C Turnbull, A Cochrane, C Young.

Marr: G Montgomery; S Bickerstaff, J Shedden, C Bickerstaff©, J Scott; C Inglis, S Broad; B Sweet, C McMillan, W Farquhar, D Andrew, H Murray, F Grant, R Brown, B Johnston. Subs: S Adair, G Reid, K McCulloch, S McDonald, I Turaga.

KEY BATTLE: Ewan MacDougall versus Ben Johnston

TEAM NEWS –

Selkirk: With the ever-growing injury list, Andrew Grant-Suttie and Moray Haldane drop out. Captain Ewan McDougall is back at No8 and Callum McNeil is on the wing for his first start of the season.

Marr: A couple of changes from last week with Cody Cunningham returning home to New Zealand and Mackenzie Pearce injured. That allows David Andrew to start in the second-row. Fraser Grant moves to the back-row with Robert Brown coming in. On the bench, Kyle McCulloch and Scott McDonald come into the squad after good performances for the second  XV.

WHAT THE COACHES SAY –

“It’s going to be a huge challenge this week, but one everyone at the club is looking forward to it. We’ve worked hard this week to change up a few things, we’re now just looking for a performance to kick-start our season …” – Scott Wight (Selkirk) 

“After a tough home game against Jed-Forest last week, we are away to Selkirk on Saturday. This is a tough place to go and win and we need to improve on last week’s performance if we are to achieve this goal. Selkirk will be determined to put the defeat against GHA behind them with a good home win …” – Craig Redpath (Marr)

VERDICT: Selkirk have had a very ‘stop-start’ first few weeks of the season. Games being off and injuries have not allowed them to pick up any momentum. Although not quite hitting peak performance levels, Marr are starting to get things moving and a solid showing from them should see them head back to Troon with a positive result.

Away win.


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About Gary Heatly 238 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.