Men’s Premiership & National 1 Preview | Round 12
We’re now into Round 12 of the Men’s Premiership and Round 11 National Division 1 leagues. Here’s everything you need to know going into this weekend.
Currie Chieftains v Musselburgh – Malleny Park, 2pm
Two teams on the right side of the score line in their fixtures last week meet in Balerno.
Just three points separate the sides, with Currie ahead of Musselburgh despite having played one game less.
Currie were big winners in the reverse fixture at Stoneyhill, coming out 46-7 winners in September.
Currie Chieftains Head Coach Mark Cairns said: “A settled starting pack with the only change being Roy Vucago replacing Archie Fletcher at 7 due to injury.
“It’s great to have Ollie Blyth-Lafferty back in the squad and Ross Morrison is set to make his 1st appearance for the 1s off the bench after impressing in the 2s. In the backs we welcome back Charlie Brett and DJ Innes in an otherwise unchanged backline.”
“Last week was a better performance away to Jed and we will need to step it up again this week to get a win against Musselburgh. They have already beat Marr away from home, pushed Hawick all the way and will be
full of confidence after their win against Accies last weekend. Derek has done a fantastic job and has built a team with threats throughout.
“For our part, it’s great to be back at Malleny and to have some of our more
experienced players coming back into the squad, it’s set to be a cracking match.”
Musselburgh Head Coach Derek O’Riordan said: “Putting league matters to one side, we have never beaten Currie in competitive rugby in nearly 35 years worth of fixtures. That’s massive.
“What I’m most proud about with this team though is how they are learning to no longer accept their fate. Let’s see if we are prepared to close another chapter and confine our run of results against Currie to the history books at the weekend.”
Edinburgh Academical v Heriot’s Blues – Raeburn Place, 2pm
An Edinburgh derby is on the cards at Raeburn Place, with both teams looking to bounce back from narrow defeats last weekend.
Accies are currently in fourth place with 36 points, whilst Heriot’s are in seventh with 29.
Accies Head Coach iain Berthinussen said: “We did well to stay in the game and give ourselves a chance to win last week, however, we didn’t stick to what we had talked about and could not hold onto our lead heading into the final five minutes of the game.
“This week we welcome Heriot’s to Raeburn Place; a local derby and we must get back to winning ways and we need to be brave on both sides of the ball.”
Blues Head Coach Phil Smith added: “Rory Steele and Cammy Meagher make a timely return as Trent Storen and Harry Hitchen drop out through injury. Ali Johnston and Struan Cessford join a fairly settled pack.
“It was a disappointing defeat last weekend, however, the opportunity to take on our local rivals will hopefully focus the minds.”
Marr v Glasgow Hawks – Fullerton Park, 2pm
Across the country, it’s a west coast derby as Marr and Glasgow Hawks seek to bounce back from defeats in round 11.
Marr slipped to second last weekend after losing to new leaders Hawick, whilst Hawks are in eighth with three league wins so far, but lost two Selkirk, who sit one place below them, in their last match.
Marr Coach Stephen Adair said: “We know that Hawks will bring another physical game to Fullerton in which we need to be ready for.
“This week has been about correcting the errors of last and making sure we execute what we practise at training. We know we need to stay disciplined and make sure we take our chances when they arrive to be on the right side of the scoreline this week.”
Glasgow Hawks Head Coach Andy Hill added: “Last week was a terribly disappointing result for us and our focus now has to shift to look to try and do some things we’ve yet to do in this new brand of the Premiership. One of them is winning down in Fullerton which will be no easy feat but one we are excited to embrace.”
Jed-Forest v Selkirk – Riverside Park, 3pm
The first of two Borders derbies sees the bottom two sides clash in Jedburgh.
The reverse fixture was a high-scoring affair at Philiphaugh, with Selkirk coming out 65-35 winners in September.
Jed-Forest Forwards Coach David Grieve said: “On Saturday it’s a huge game for us, it’s almost at last chance saloon mixed in with it being a Border derby.
“We need points and to be honest maximum points, and to stop Selkirk getting anything. Nothing less that a fully committed, accurate performance is required.”
Selkirk Head Coach Gordon Henderson added: “This week gives us another massive Border derby, which are normally pretty physical games.
“We’re really pleased with our win last week against the Hawks, and that was due to some really solid defensive sets.
“This week, we’ll need to bring that aggression to our defensive line at Riverside, because Jed are improving each week and are very dangerous at home. They scored 31 points against Marr and 35 points the last time they played us, so we know they’re an attacking threat.
“However, we’re equally desperate to get a win ourselves and get closer to the teams that are immediately above us, but we know it’s going to be a hard shift. We’ve prepared really well this week, with real intent and focus to our training so we’re going there to put a massive 80 minutes in, and hopefully the scoreline comes out our way.”
Kelso v Hawick – Poynder Park, 3pm
The other Borders derby this weekend sees leaders and defending champions Hawick travel to Kelso.
Hawick returned to the top of the table last weekend with a 21-15 win over Marr, whilst sixth placed Kelso secured a narrow 32-21 away to Heriot’s Blues.
Kelso Player/Coach Bruce McNeil said: ” It will be a tough ask for us this weekend, not only do we have the reigning Premiership champions coming to Poynder but we have a few injury concerns as well as unavailability of some senior players.
“But we will give it a good crack and see where we are come 5pm Saturday.”
Hawick Director of Rugby Gary Muir added: “Following a good win at home to Marr last week, we head to Poynder Park to face border rivals Kelso. Poynder is a notoriously difficult place to go and get a win as a few Premiership sides have found out this season. We have been involved in some close battles over the years down there and Bruce McNeil will have them fired up.
“We have again trained well this week and have a fairly settled squad heading into this one. Border derbies are not for the faint-hearted and this one won’t be any different. I am looking forward to another good game of Premiership rugby and hoping that come 5pm on Saturday the boys have executed the game plan and come out on the right side of the result.”
In National League Division 1, league leaders Ayr, the only side still unbeaten in the league, travel to ninth placed Dundee.
Bottom side GHK will be looking for a third win of the season when they travel to fifth placed Gala, who could climb up two places with a bonus point win.
Third placed Glasgow Academicals could finish the weekend in second with a win over seventh placed Watsonians, who themselves could climb into the top half.
Second placed Highland will be looking to close the gap on the leaders with a win at home to sixth placed GHA.
And fourth placed Melrose could get into the top 2 with a bonus point win over eighth placed Biggar.
This week, Dundee v Ayr and Glasgow Accies v Watsonians are at 2pm. The other three fixtures are at 3pm.