Crunch time in closing weeks of RBS Premiership

Coming into the business end of the season, top meets top and bottom meets bottom in the RBS Premiership this weekend.

Tommy Seymour will be turning out for Stirling County this weekend

A Border derby between Gala and Melrose (3pm) at Netherdale, will determine who goes into the next round of the RBS Premiership sitting at the top of the table. Gala are currently perched above Melrose in first, only a point splitting the two sides, although the Netherdale club have a game in hand.

Melrose head coach, John Dalziel, said:

“The Gala v Melrose derby is always a huge occasion but this one has a little extra zest given the importance of the win for both sides. After leading the Premiership for long periods, we now find ourselves chasing Gala who have played consistently well throughout the season.

“With a few players now unavailable due to Scotland under-20 commitments, it’s testament to the depth of the squad that we’re able to pick such a strong of team.

“We have prepared very well over the last few weeks with this game in mind. As always we look forward to the game and what will no doubt be a titanic battle.”

At the other end of the table, a basement battle will be on the menu as Currie host Aberdeen Grammar at Malleny Park (3pm), both looking to fight their way out of the relegation zone.

Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said:

“This is a massive match for both teams and with only four games left to play in the league, there is very little room for error.

“We have been improving gradually over the season but after a disappointing performance in the Edinburgh Regional Cup final against Heriot’s, we had to address a few issues.

“This Saturday promises to be a tense, close-fought battle and we hope our recent form and home advantage stands us in good stead for a victory.”

In other RBS Premiership fixtures, Edinburgh Accies host Heriot’s at Raeburn Place in a capital clash (2pm), Ayr welcome Glasgow Hawks to Millbrae (3pm) and Hawick will head north to play Stirling County at Bridgehaugh (3pm).

Pro players turning out in the club this week are: James Hilterbrand (Gala), Mark Robertson, Lewis Niven (both Melrose), Sean Cox, Jonny Gray (both Currie), Kevin Bryce, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (both Heriot’s), Tommy Seymour (Stirling County), Nikki Walker and Rob McAlpine (both Hawick).

Gala v Melrose, Netherdale, 3pm

Gala team: Andy McLean; Gerald Sibanda, Chris Auld, Ewan Scott, Grant Sommerville; Gregor Mein, George Graham (captain); Rory Sutherland, Callum MacIntosh, Ewan McQuillin, Craig Borthwick, Opeta Palepoi, Gary Graham, Stevie Cairns and Ewan Dods.

Replacements: James Hillterbrand, Josh Irvine, Scott Chapman, Alan Emond and Graham Speirs.

Melrose team: Austin Lockington; Callum Anderson, Alan Dodds, Joe Helps, Mark Robertson; Richard Mill, Bruce Colvine; Nicky Little, Todd Pearce, Lewis Niven, Perry Parker, James Head, Peter Eccles, Grant Runciman and Andrew Nagle.

Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Gary Holborn, Graham Dodds, Ruari Knott and Andrew Skeen.

Referee: Graeme Wells

Currie v Aberdeen Grammar, Malleny Park, 3pm

Currie team: George Horne; Harvey Elms, Joe Reynolds, Ethan Pollock, Ruairidh Smith; James Semple, Richard Snedden; John Cox, David Cherry, Alastair Hamilton, Sean Cox, Jonny Gray, Mike Vernal, Mark Cairns and Ross Weston.

Replacements: Graeme Carson, Fraser Watts, Gary Temple, Malcolm Peacock and Adam Alexander.

Aberdeen Grammar team: Stevie Aitken; Erland Oag, Harry Duthie, Greig Ryan (captain), Calum Gordon; Rob Aloe, Jamie Lauder; Matt Dixon, Sean O’Connor, Struan Cessford, Stuart Smith, Jamie Metcalfe, Sam Bingham, Tony McGinness and Tom Preece.

Replacements: Matt Schosser, Matt McCall, Will Wardlaw, Mark Ryan and Morgan Ward.

Referee: Cammy Rudkin

Edinburgh Accies v Heriot’s, Raeburn Place, 2pm

Edinburgh Accies team: Jamie Sole; Nyle Godsmark, Ewen Campbell, Iain Berthinussen, Chris Dean; Alex Blair, Mike Campbell; Duncan Morrison, Michael Liness, Alex Allan, Jamie McCarthy, Greg Campbell (captain), Robin Snape, Hamish Watson and Callum Reid.

Replacements: Callum Black, Clem Lacqor, Ronan Seydak, Tom Stuart and Ruairidh Bonner.

Heriot’s team: Keith Buchan; Colin Goudie, Cameron Ferguson, Rory Carmichael, Harry Boisseau; OJ Brown, Graham Wilson; Nathan Borel, George Turner, Stewart Mustard, Murray Douglas, Russell Nimmo, Jason Hill, Chris Mulligan and Jack Turley (captain).

Replacements: Kevin Bryce, Ken MacKenzie, Robbie Tait, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and David McMaster.

Referee:  Peter Allan

Ayr v Glasgow Hawks, Millbrae, 3pm

Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Kerr Gossman; Finn Russell, Murray McConnell; George Hunter, Fergus Scott, Nick Cox, Callum Templeton, Scott Sutherland, Graham Fisken, Andrew Dunlop and Peter McCallum.

Replacements: David Young, Stuart Fenwick, Graham Williamson, Peter Jericevich and Ross Curle.

Glasgow Hawks team: Andy White; Paul Ramsay, Robert Beattie, Ally MacLay, Haddon McPherson; Mike Martin, Dan Smart; Steven Findlay, Jack McFarlane, Brendan Cullinane, Andy Linton (captain), Angus Hamilton, Andy Redmayne, Stephen Leckie and Andy Kirkland.

Replacements: Calum Kerr, Craig Bachurzewski, Mateusz Bartoszek, Paddy Boyer and Tom Steven.

Referee: Duncan McClement

Stirling County v Hawick, Bridgehaugh, 3pm

Stirling County team: Brian Archibald; Tommy Seymour, Danny Gilmour, Fraser Lyle, Rory Hughes; Stuart Edwards, AJ Macfarlane; Jamie Bhatti, Alex Moffat, Garry Mountford, Euan Dewar, Craig Deacons, Struan Robertson, Will Bordill and Jamie Swanson.

Replacements: Kris Burney, Reyner Kennedy, Shaun McDonald, Stevie Swindall and Ben Addison.

Hawick team: John Coutts; Nikki Walker, Lee Armstrong, Scott McLeod, Greg Anderson; Rory Hutton, Greg Cottrell; Shawn Muir, Lindsey Gibson, Liam Launders, Rob McAlpine, Keiran Willison, Stuart Graham, Rory Scott and Bruce McNeil.

Replacements: Nick Mactaggart, Matt Landels, Keith Davies, Jake Evens and Neil McColm.

Referee: David Changleng