Melrose will continue to try to defend the Bill McLaren Shield in round eight of the RBS Premiership tomorrow, while for 2012/13’s top four sides, the British & Irish Cup will commence.
It’ll be Edinburgh Accies’ first outing in the cross border tournament and they welcome Welsh outfit, Pontypridd to Raeburn Place for a 3pm kick-off, also at home Gala play Aberavon at 7pm.
Edinburgh Accies head coach, Jonny Else, said: “We make history this weekend at Raeburn Place, as it’s the first ever British & Irish Cup game for the club. The excitement around our involvement in this competition has been mounting after we qualified last season.
“The players have worked extremely hard over pre-season and into the start of this season to ensure they are ready to tackle this competition. We know that the Cup will be a step up in terms of physicality and skill level, but the players and coaches are motivated and determined to represent the club with pride.
“We’re ready to face this challenge head on, while ensuring that we impose our own game on the opposition.”
On the road Ayr make the long journey south to Jersey (3pm), Stirling County are welcomed by Munster A (5pm) and London Scottish travel to local neighbours London Welsh (2.30pm).
In the London Scottish team, acting head coach James Buckland makes a bold move, playing former Scotland under-21 back-row, Lewis Calder at hooker for the first time. Buckland said:
"Lewis has been an exceptionally good open side but we feel his future lies at hooker. He has got the build for it, the attitude and that tenacious edge.
"He played there in pre-season and got some game time out on loan for Richmond. We targeted this window to give him a shot. He will be involved in the next two games.”
Back in the RBS Premiership Glasgow Hawks play Heriot’s at Old Anniesland, Aberdeen Grammar travel to the Greenyards to take-on Melrose and Hawick go head-to-head with Currie at Mansfield Park.
Tomorrow’s match at The Greenyards will be Melrose’s second defence of the Bill McLaren Shield since they first claimed it on Saturday 14 September. They have to win four times at home to ensure they can be engraved on the prestigious trophy.
All Premiership matches kick-off at 3pm.
Melrose centre, Joe Helps, said: “Ayr are the only team to be engraved on the Bill McLaren Shield so far, we were very close last year, but lost it, so we’re hoping to keep it as long as possible this time around.
“We said at the beginning of the season we wanted the Greenyards to become known as a fortress and make sure we are unbeaten at home.
“However, we know that Aberdeen Grammar are a big physical team who are doing something well in the league. They ran Heriot’s close last weekend and are getting stronger and stronger every week.
“We’re up for the challenge though and this weekend is a big opportunity to put pressure on the British & Irish Cup teams and move ahead at the top of the table.”
From the pro-ranks this week, turning out for the clubs, are Lee Jones (Edinburgh Accies), Tom Ryder (Stirling County), James Hilterbrand, Grayson Hart (both Gala), Scott Wight (Glasgow Hawks), Gordon Reid (Aberdeen Grammar) and Nikki Walker (Hawick).
On Sunday, in the women’s RBS Premier League RHC Cougars host Melrose, Stirling County travel to Watsonians and Hillhead/Jordanhill and Murrayfield Wanderers meet in Glasgow.
British & Irish Cup fixtures
London Welsh v London Scottish, Monks Lane, 2.30pm
London Welsh team: Alan Awcock; Joe Ajuwa, Dante Mama, Sonny Parker, Nick Scott; Will Robinson, Alex Davies; Billy Moss, Kevin Davis, James Tideswell, Mitch Lees, Ben West, Richard Thorpe, Mike Denbee and Ben Pienaar (captain).
Replacements: Alec Hepburn, Andy Titterrell, Peter Edwards, Daniel Browne, Carl Kirwan, Chris Cook and Ollie Frost.
London Scottish team: James Love; Peter Homan, Mike Doneghan, PJ Gidow (captain), Miles Mantella; Dan Newton, Jamie Stevenson; Jamie Kilbane, Lewis Calder, Tomas Francis, Paul Spivey, David Lyons, Chevvy Pennycook, Joe Trayfoot and Ben Russell.
Replacements: Harry Allen, Mark Irish, Lewis Thiede, Mark Bright, Ben Pattenden, Oli Grove and Andy Reay.
Edinburgh Accies v Pontypridd, Raeburn Place, 3pm
Edinburgh Accies team: Jamie Sole; Nyle Godsmark, Ewan Campbell, Iain Berthinussen, Sam Pecqueur; Alex Blair, Alex Black; Alex Allan, Michael Liness, Phil Cringle, Greg Campbell (captain), Jamie McCarthy, Robin Snape, Callum Reid and Hamish Watson.
Replacements: Duncan Morrison, Shaun Strudwick, Fraser Rawlinson, Tom Stuart, Mike Campbell, Ruaridh Bonner and Lee Jones
Pontypridd team: Geraint Walsh; Owen Jenkins, Gavin Dacey, Dafydd Lockyer, Matthew Nuthall; Simon Humberstone, Tom Williams; James Howe, Rhys Williams, Keiron Jenkins, Craig Locke, Chris Dicomidis (captain), Jake Thomas, Thomas Young and Dan Godfrey.
Replacements: Lloyd Williams, Dai Flanagan, Aled Summerhill, Huw Dowden, Luke Crocker, Jordan Sieniawski and Chris Phillips.
Referee: Steve Lee (RFU)
Jersey v Ayr, Rue des Landes, 3pm
Jersey team: Jack Burroughs; James Copsey, Drew Locke, Tom Cooper, Ed Dawson; Aaron Penberthy, Jimmy Williams; Tom Fidler, Nick Selway, Rob Anderson, David Markham, James Voss, Joe Buckle and Tom Brown (captain).
Replacements: Luke Stratford, Joe Brennan, Alex Rae, Ben Maidment, Joel Dudley, Niall O’Connor and Mark McCrea.
Ayr team: Grant Anderson (captain); Craig Gossman, Richard Dalgleish, Robbie Fergusson, Kerr Gossman; Finn Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Fergus Scott, George Hunter, Scott Sutherland, Graham Williamson, Peter McCallum, Andrew Dunlop and Callum Templeton.
Replacements: David Young, Stuart Fenwick, D’Arcy Rae, Colin Dunn, Murray McConnell, Cammy Taylor and Danny McCluskey.
Munster A v Stirling County, Bandon RFC, 5pm
Munster A team: Ronan O’Mahony; Andrew Conway, Ivan Dineen, Cian Bohane, Darren Sweetnam; Rory Scannell, Cathal Sheridan (captain); Alan Cotter, Niall Scannell, Paddy Ryan, Billy Holland, Dave Foley, Dave O’Callaghan, Sean Dougall and Shane Buckley.
Replacements: Max Abbott, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Barry O’Mahony, Brian Haugh, Gearoid Lyons and Niall Kenneally.
Stirling County team: Ben Addison; Graham Lindsay, Archie Russell, Brian Archibald, Rory Hughes; Stuart Edwards, AJ McFarlane; Jamie Bhatti, Reyner Kennedy, Colin Hutton, Ruaridh Leishman, Tom Ryder, Struan Robertson, Will Bordill and Adam Ashe.
Replacements: Alex Moffat, Kris Burney, Sean McDonald, Jamie Swanson, Matt Larson, Joff Hope and Robbie Hogg.
Gala v Aberavon, Netherdale, 7pm
Gala team: Graham Speirs; Grant Sommerville, Chris Auld, Ewan Scott, Liam Draycott; Gregor Mein, Grayson Hart; Rory Sutherland, Callum MacKintosh, Ewan McQuillin, Craig Borthwick, Chris Weir (captain), Richard Todd, Stevie Cairns and Tom Weir.
Replacements: James Hilterbrand, Lewis Bertram, Gary Graham, Chris Mein, George Graham, Alan Emond and Craig Robertson.
Aberavon team: Sam Davies; Aisea Natoga, Richard Thomas, Aaron Jones, Ashley Evans; Paul Smithson, Chris Morgans; Rowan Jenkins, Ieuan Davies, Chris John, Rhodri Hughes, Sam Williams, Ben Thomas, Nathan Brown and Dan Baker.
Replacements: Dan Davies, John Phillips, Jamie Murphy, Scott Otten, Jack Jones, Nick Smith and Nicky Thomas.
Referee: David Proctor (RFU)
RBS Premiership fixtures
Glasgow Hawks v Heriot’s, Old Anniesland, 3pm
Glasgow Hawks team: James Gormley; Ally MacLay, Robert Beattie, Jack Steele, Haddon McPherson; Scott Wight, Sean Yacoubian; Steven Findlay, Jack McFarlane, Brendan Cullinane, Andy Linton, Angus Hamilton, Andy Kirkland, Stephen Leckie and Ross Miller (captain).
Replacements: Calum Kerr, Zander Fagerson, Kenneth Beattie, Andy White and Davie Milnes.
Heriot’s team: Liam Steele; Colin Goudie, Max Learmonth, Keith Buchan, Harry Boisseau; Max Nimmo, Graham Wilson; Craig Owenson, Kevin Bryce, Mike McDonald, Murray Douglas, Russell Nimmo, Jack Turley (captain), Alex Henderson and Jason Hill.
Replacements: George Turner, Nathan Borel, Chris Mulligan, Joe Koru and OJ Brown.
Referee: Cammy Rudkin
Melrose v Aberdeen Grammar, The Greenyards, 3pm
Melrose team: Austin Lockington; Damien Hoyland, Andrew Skeen, Joe Helps, Callum Anderson; Richard Mill, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Todd Pearce, Gary Holborn, Graeme Dodds, Ross Ovens, Peter Eccles, Grant Runciman and Andrew Nagle.
Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Nick Beavon, Stuart Johnstone, David Crawford, and Tom Wilson.
Aberdeen Grammar team: Will Wardlaw; Erland Oag, Peceli Nacamavuto, Harry Duthie (captain), A N Other; Graeme Clow, Luke Earle-Wright; Gordon Reid, Sean O’Connor, Struan Cessford, Matt McCall, Jamie Metcalfe, Sam Bingham, Tony McGuiness and Tom Preece.
Replacements: Matt Schosser, Callum Harvey, Rob Cessford, Mark Ryan and Sam Ryan.
Referee: Charles Samson
Hawick v Currie, Mansfield Park, 3pm
Hawick team: Neil Renwick; Scott McLeod, Nikki Walker, Gary Johnstone, Greg Anderson; Lee Armstrong, Jake Evans; Liam Launders, Lindsay Gibson, Wullie Blacklock, Rob McAlpine, Kieran Willison, Bruce McNeil, Stuart Graham and Keith Davies
Replacements: Ross Graham, Shawn Muir, Nick MacTaggart, Ally Weir and Steven Anderson.
Currie team: Ruaridh Smith; Harvey Elms, Alex Penman, Ethan Pollock, Callum Kerr; George Horne, Richard Snedden; John Cox, Joe Roe, Alastair Hamilton, Gary Temple, Elliot Mitchell, Mike Vernal, Mark Cairns (captain) and Ross Weston.
Replacements: Graeme Carson, Fraser Watts, Charlie McLean, Joe Stachan and Adam Alexander.
Referee: Graeme Wells