Men’s Premiership & National 1 Preview | Round 10
We’re now officially at the half-way point of the Men’s Premiership. After nine rounds of competition, Hawick sit at the top of the table just one point ahead of Marr. Edinburgh Accies have snuck into third place ahead of Musselburgh on points difference.
Let’s take a look at what Round 10 has to offer.
Currie Chieftains v Selkirk – Malleney Park, KO 2pm
Currie Chieftains return to Malleney as they host Selkirk on Saturday.
In the previous contest between Currie and Selkirk this season, Currie emerged victorious 17-47.
Last weekend both teams suffered defeat, Currie at the hands of Accies (31-19) and Selkirk at the hands of reigning champions, Hawick (36-8).
For both Selkirk and Currie, their first-half performances were certainly strong. Selkirk managed to help Hawick to a 7-8 scoreline until the 60-minute mark when the hosts switched a gear to come back and secure a try bonus-point.
Despite the final score, Selkirk Head Coach Gordon Henderson has been encouraged by his squad’s efforts, saying: “We’re really looking forward to this week’s game. Looking at last week, we contained Hawick for over 60 minutes which we can take a bit of confidence and believe from. Hawick are a good side, and we stayed in the fight for a good chunk of the game, and we actually led for a period in the second half.
“We’re going to take that believe into another tough game this weekend. They were beaten last weekend, so I know they’re going to want to get another win under the belts at home.
“We have been training hard this week to get ourselves in the right place to finish off the last quarter of the game right. We know we can fight, we know what it takes but it’s going to take staying in it till the very end to get that win.”
Reflecting on their loss last weekend, Chieftain’s Head Coach Mark Cairns said: “I can’t remember watching a more lacklustre performance than last week at Raeburn Place. We only really got going in the last 20 minutes, but by then Accies had the game wrapped up
“I have been really pleased with how honest the guys have been about their individual performances and we have had a very productive week’s training. Selkirk are playing some really good rugby and will be disappointed not to have converted that into points over the past few weeks. Gordon is doing a great job and they are getting better week on week so we will need to show the home support what we are about if we are to get the win.”
Edinburgh Academical FC v Jed-Forest – Raeburn Place, KO 2pm
Edinburgh Accies play host this weekend to Jed-Forest in Round 10 of the Premiership.
Last weekend Accies enjoyed a five-point haul at home as they enjoyed a 31-19 victory over Currie Chieftains.
Accies have been without some key senior players through injury over the last few weeks, but Head Coach Iain Berthinussen has been impressed by his squad’s ability to step up to the mark, saying: “The players have taken real ownership and we have seen them grow over the last four or five weeks.
“This week our attention turns to Jed-Forest at home, a team who have started to show some real consistency in performance, we need to start doing the same to earn another win.”
Whilst last weekend Jed-Forest suffered another defeat, this time at the hands of fellow Borders side, Kelso (30-21). Whilst Jed had equalised Kelso on tries and conversions, it was Kelso’s ability to add extras through penalties that gave them the edge.
Despite the string of losses, the Riverside men have continued to dig deep to produce increasingly strong performances which have given the likes of Marr, Musselburgh and Kelso a good run for their money with full-time scores concluding with a less than a 10-point margin.
There continues to be plenty fight within the Jed squad, and this weekend gives them an opportunity to undo some of the mistakes made in their Round 1 battled against Accies which concluded 17-41.
Marr v Heriot’s Blues – Fullarton Park, KO 2pm
On Saturday Marr will welcome Heriot’s Blues to Fullarton for a Round 1 rematch.
Marr’s home game against Musselburgh concluded in disappointment for the hosts as they lost 28-36.
After going down 7-28 at half-time Marr did well to narrow the deficit. Despite not securing a losing bonus point, they did at least earn a try-bonus point with scored from Colin Sturgeon, Blaire Jardine (2) and Connor Bickerstaff.
Marr Head Coach Kenny Diffenthal is hopeful his side can bounce back after, saying: “After last week’s tough game the boys have trained really well this week. Hopefully we can take it into Saturdays game versus Heriot’s.
“Heriot’s are a tough team to play as we found out at the start of the season, they’re very well organised. So, we will need to be on point in all aspects if we want to come out on the right side of the score board.”
For the Blues, last weekend’s 27-19 loss away to Hawks, along with results elsewhere in the league, saw them pushed out from the top four.
Speaking to Scottish Rugby about the weekend ahead, Blues Head Coach Phil Smith said: “It was a disappointing performance last week means we need to pick ourselves up for the difficult trip to Marr. On a positive note, this will complete our five-week run of away trips, and hopefully it can be a positive one.”
Looking at the match-day squad, full-back Trent Storen returns which sees Angus Hunter move to the bench. Struan Cessford and Danny Dineen start in the pack with Rory Jackson looking to make an impact from the bench.
In Round 1, the Blues claimed a narrow victory over Marr (29-26). The rematch presents both teams a vital opportunity to return to winnings ways.
Glasgow Hawks v Hawick – Balgray, KO 2pm
Hawick travel to Glasgow this weekend as they take on the Hawks at Balgray.
Looking at their first battle earlier in the season, Hawick defeated Glasgow Hawks 27-12.
Since then, Hawks have gone on to win three games and draw once, whilst Hawick have only lost one fixture.
After drawing with Musselburgh in Round 8, last weekend Glasgow Hawks returned to winning ways as they scooped a 27-17 win over Heriot’s Blues at home.
The hosts earned a bonus point with tries from James Imrie, Ryan Flett, James Couper and Paul Cairncross. Their win amongst other results in the league saw the Blues fall from the top four and into sixth place in the table standings.
For Hawick, last week’s performance against Selkirk was a testament of strength as Matty Douglas’ side dug deep in the final fifteen minutes to runaway with the win.
Tries from Connor Sutherland, Kirk Ford, Andrew Mitchell and a brace from Morgan Tait helped secure a try-bonus point to take them back to the top of the table, sneaking ahead of Marr by one point.
Kelso v Musselburgh – Poynder Park, KO 3pm
On Saturday Kelso play host to Musselburgh, as both sides look to add a consecutive win to their belts in Round 10. Their first meeting in the season saw the score settled in a 31-all draw.
In last weekend’s clash with Jed-Forest, Kelso emerged victorious 30-21.
Bruce McNeil was first to score, darting across the whitewash in the opening five minutes, with two further scores from skipper Frankie Robson and Archie Barbour. Dwain Patterson added three conversions and three penalties to wrap up the win at home.
Last weekend, Musselburgh caused great upset in Troon as they beat Marr 28-36, claiming the Bill McLaren Shield along the way too.
Musselburgh had a fantastic opening half, securing a bonus point by half-time with scores from Colin Arthur, Sandy Watt, Craig Owenson and Jordan Lister. Despite their efforts to come back into the game, Marr couldn’t quite get there and the final nail in the coffin saw the Burgh side deny their hosts the losing bonus point in the final moments of the game when Danny Owenson knocked a penalty across the posts.
Speaking to Scottish Rugby about their journey in the league so far this season, Musselburgh Head Coach Derek O’Riordan said: “It’s a clean slate for us going into the second half of the league. It will be a different kind of challenge starting this phase on the road to Kelso where they have turned Accies over and only lost once there this season.
“We are blessed though with some consistency in selection and performance and looking at the team we put out in the opener we are markedly different. It should be a great contest if we get our detail and our effort right.”
After a narrow victory over GHA last weekend (42-40) Biggar now host GHK, whilst Glasgow Accies host top of the table, Ayr. Both games kick-off at 2pm.
In the Borders Gala host Watsonians and Melrose host GHA. Finally, Highland welcome Dundee to Canal Park. All three games kick off at 3pm.