BOTH scheduled matches this weekend – Marr versus Hawick and Edinburgh Accies versus Currie Chieftains – have been called off in response to the continuing uncertainty relating to the Covid-19 outbreak.
HOW IT STANDS –
THE LOWDOWN –
MARR v HAWICK – GAME OFF
VENUE: Fullarton Park @ 3pm
Marr: G Montgomery; S Bickerstaff, G Paxton, C Bickerstaff©, T Steven; C Sturgeon, J Preston; B Sweet, J Drummond, C Henderson, J Harvey, F Grant, M Pearce, R Brown, B Grant. Subs: C McMillan, I Renucci, C Cunningham, G Ness, J Scott.
Hawick: K Ford; R McKean, A Mitchell, G Walker, L Gordon-Wooley; A Weir, G Welsh; S Muir©, M Carryer, C Bachurzewski, M Renwick, A Piotrowski, C Renwick, J Linton, B McNeil. Subs: R Hartdegen, R Toogood, J Grant, B Donaldson, M Bannerman.
TEAM NEWS –
Marr: Four changes to the side which won in Aberdeen last week due to injury and unavailability, with Richard Dalgleish, William Farquhar, Ollie Rossi and Ewan Bulger dropping out. Scott Bickerstaff returns from Scotland 7s duty on the wing, while Brandon Sweet, Jamie Drummond and Josh Harvey come into the pack.
Hawick: A few player off on the bi-annual pilgrimage to Wales, and South African centre Wiaan Griebenow has a neck injury (but should be back for the play-offs) so is replaced by Greg Walker, while Bruce McNeil returns from suspension at No 8.
KEY BATTLE: Mackenzie Pearce versus Callum Renwick
WHAT THE COACHES SAY –
“After a good win last week away in Aberdeen, we face an extremely tough home game against Hawick. They are the form team in league and will visit Fullarton with plenty of confidence and will be looking to inflict our second defeat of the year. We will have to reduce our errors and have a disciplined performance to take anything from the game …” – Craig Redpath (Marr)
“Marr have been very good this season and have guaranteed themselves a home playpoff. We did not perform against them at home but many would argue that we have improved a little since then. Let’s see what happens come Saturday…” – George Graham (Hawick)
VERDICT: A big game in terms of bragging rights going into the pay-offs.
Hawick are the form team – but Wiaan Griebenow is a very important player for them – and still no sign of Daniel Suddon. They are, however, bolstered by the return of their two Polish international forwards – and Andrew Mitchell will be anxious to expose the nonsense of his omission from the Scotland under 20 squad.
A couple of enforced changes to the Marr pack, but Scott Bickerstaff’s return from Sevens duty will help their cause.
Home advantage could be a consideration – but the key factor is most likely to be Hawick’s missing South African.
Narrow home win.
EDINBURGH ACCIES v CURRIE CHIEFTAINS – GAME OFF
VENUE: Raeburn Place @ 3pm
Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; R Wilson, M Cairnes, R Mill, C Ramm; W Stephen, M Sinclair; C Imrie, C Black, D Anderson, C C Bain, D Dinnen, T Jones, J Sole©, J Bruce. Subs: J Didomenico C Lacour, R McConnell, M Love, H McLean.
Currie Chieftains: F Sayers; S Hamilton, A Hall, R Southern, J McCaig; G Hunter, G Christie; R Patterson, G Carson, M Argiro, M Vernel, S Edwards, H Ferguson, F Scott, W Nelson. Subs: C Ramsay, J O’Brien, J Ramsay, A McLean, j bett
KEY BATTLE: Jamie Sole versus Fergus Scott
TEAM NEWS –
Edinburgh Accies: Monty Cairnes moves to outside centre, in place of the injured Ruari Campbell, and Robert Wilson takes his place on the wing. Mark Sinclair swaps in off the bench to starting scrum-half, with Max Love moving in the other direction, and it is a similar situation at tight-head prop with David Anderson and Clement Lacour changing places. Ted Jones comes in at blindside flanker, Declan Dinnen moves to the second-row and James Pearse gets his first start of the season at No 8. Youngster Josef Didomenico comes onto the bench after impressing for the 2nd XV.
Currie Chieftains: Matais Argiro comes into the starting XV with Cairn Ramsey on the bench. Charlie Brett returns form injury with a place on the bench, and will be looking to pick up his early season form.
WHAT THE COACH SAYS –
“We managed to produce our only bit of sustained pressure on the last play of the match to secure the win and bonus point last week versus Musselburgh. We spoke a lot leading up to that match about how dangerous teams are when they are fighting for survival and I was disappointed in our overall performance. It’s exactly this same this week against an Accies team who need the win and hopefully the boys have learned from last week. The training intensity has been as good as it has been all year and I know the guys are looking forward to a big game where there is a lot at stake for both teams …” – Mark Cairns (Currie Chieftains)
“This is our penultimate league game of the season; one final chance and we are looking forward to it …” –Iain Berthinussen (Edinburgh Accies)
VERDICT:Chieftains were lackadaisical against Musselburgh at Stoneyhill last week and were lucky to get away with it. Presumably they learned from the experience and realise that they need to take something away from Raeburn Place to ensure a home draw in the play-offs.
Accies are drinking in The Last Chance saloon and a desperate man is a dangerous man – but it is difficult to see that they have the firepower to discomfit Chieftains – though Musselburgh did come close last week in similar circumstances.