Men’s Premiership & National 1 Preview | Round 13
We’re now into Round 13 of the Men’s Premiership and Round 12 National Division 1 leagues. Here’s everything you need to know going into this weekend.
Heriot’s Blues v Currie Chieftains – Goldenacre, 2pm
It’s 5th v 3rd as Currie Chieftains travel to Goldenacre to take on Heriot’s Blues.
Heriot’s were winners on the road against Edinburgh Accies last weekend, whilst Currie were convincing victors at home to Musselburgh.
Currie ran out 46-5 winners in the reverse fixture at Malleny Park in September.
Heriot’s Blues Head Coach Phil Smith said: “We are delighted to see Jason Hill return to the rugby fields this weekend after an extended absence from ACL injury. Trent Storen also returns from injury and will join him on the bench, the rest of the squad is fairly settled.
“Finally, we were able to combine having a positive attack with a better meaning we were able to get the result we needed. Our attention now turns to Currie, who gave us a real schooling at Malleny earlier in the season. However, we feel we are now better equipped to compete, and with the 2nds playing alongside the main pitch, we are hoping for a couple of positive outcomes.”
And Currie Chieftains Head Coach Mark Cairns explained he has picked a settle side for the encounter.
“Chris Anderson is the only change in the starting pack and Euan Crombie the only change in the backs. On the bench we welcome Ali Bain and Cameron Lessels back.
“We again stepped up our performance last week and it was really pleasing to see how well we performed defensively, resulting in turnovers to set up two of our seven tries.
“The tough matches keep coming and we will need to improve yet again to take the points against Heriots. After a strong performance against Accies last week they are only a couple of points off a playoff spot and will be very motivated in front of their home support.”
Glasgow Hawks v Kelso – Balgray, 2pm
At the other end of the table, Hawks could go back up to eighth, having slipped to ninth last weekend, with a win at home to seventh placed Kelso.
A loss to Marr meant Hawks went below Selkirk last weekend, whilst Kelso were beaten in a Borders derby by Hawick.
Kelso were 29-14 winners in the reverse fixture in September, and Glasgow Hawks Head Coach Andy Hill recognises his side will need to be better this time around.
“When we travelled to Kelso earlier in the season, I think some of the lads underestimated the challenge they would bring and we were found wanting from early on in the match. They had a simple and direct game plan and bullied us up front. We have to be better prepared and in a better mindset than we were in September.”
Hawick v Edinburgh Academical – Mansfield Park, 3pm
League leaders Hawick will host fourth placed Edinburgh Academical, with the hosts knowing a loss could see them drop to second.
Hawick are four points clear of Marr at the top, while Accies cannot catch third-placed Currie this weekend but could drop two places with a defeat if results elsewhere go against them.
Hawick Director of Rugby Gary Muir said: “Following last weekend’s bruising Border derby away to Kelso we are back home at Mansfield Park to face Edinburgh Accies.
“They are a good side well coached by Iain and his team. Their recent losses should not be taken as anything other than a bad couple of days at the office. We fully expect Accies to turn up with a point to prove and we have prepared well again this week as we look to continue our good form.
“In terms of selection we have lost Ross Graham for a couple of weeks after his red card last weekend, and with Fraser Renwick still nursing a broken hand the door opens for FOSROC Academy player and Scotland U20s hopeful Marcus Brogan to join the matchday 20 for the first time this season. Hector Patterson has also been released by Edinburgh Rugby this week and starts at scrum half.
“Outside of those changes our squad is fairly settled, so are looking forward to another tough game and hope come 5pm are on the right side of the result.”
Edinburgh Academical Head Coach Iain Berthinussen was also complimentary of his opposition, saying: “Matty and his coaching team are doing a fantastic job down at Mansfield Park with great consistency in performance and selection, so we need to turn up physically this week to have a chance.
“For us it is about getting back to enjoying our rugby, and our focus for will be to go out and enjoy ourselves on both sides of the ball.”
Musselburgh v Jed-Forest – Stoneyhill, 2pm
Both sides will be looking to bounce back from defeats in East Lothian as Musselburgh host Jed-Forest.
Bottom side Jed lost out to Selkirk, who were just one spot above them in ninth going into the game, whilst Musselburgh suffered a heavy defeat at Currie.
Musselburgh Head Coach Derek O’Riordan said: “We learned a lot about ourselves last week and recognised that with the resources we have available to us it’s not always going to be a level playing field. In saying that, we have come through the first three games of the second round with more league points than
we had first time round albeit at the price of a couple of key injuries to us.
“Attention turns to Jed at home this weekend and we know from last year how they will be feeling when they come to us on Saturday. We need to keep our feet on the ground and attack the game in the same way we fought for survival last year – the difference between the teams in the middle of the pack is wafer thin so any slip ups could see our targets fall out of reach.
“We need the sleeves up, heads down and to work for everything on Saturday.”
Jed-Forest Coach Ross Goodfellow added: “It’s going to be a very hard game, Musselburgh played well when we played them at Riverside earlier in the season but we competed well and lost the game late on.
“We have a few injury worries this week, but we have nothing to lose now and will go and give it our best shot come Saturday.”
Selkirk v Marr – Philiphaugh, 3pm
The final Premiership fixture this week sees second-placed Marr travel down to eighth-placed Selkirk.
The home side picked up an important win against Jed-Forest last weekend, while Marr kept themselves right in the title fight with a win over Hawks.
Selkirk Head Coach Gordon Henderson said: “This week’s game against Marr is going to be a really good challenge for us. We’re excited to see how much we’ve improved after two wins on the bounce, and last week’s win against Jed was vital for us.
“We’ve trained really well, there’s been a real edge to our defence and attack this week and we’ll need that against Marr who will bring different challenges to us.
“We’re excited to see what we can do against Marr over 80 minutes, I said to the players last night that if we stay in the game until the last quarter then points will be up for grabs. If we play for 80 minutes then I don’t see why we can’t pick up a win or at least get something out of the game.”
Marr Coach Stephen Adair also highlighted the importance of performing for the entire game.
“It’s another massive test for us in the Borders against Selkirk. We have prepped really well this week and we are fully aware we need to be on it for 80 minutes.
“Selkirk are a tough side who have won a couple of key games over the last few weeks so we know they will be ready for us. We will need to match them physically and make sure we manage the game correctly if we are to take anything from this game.”
In National League Division 1, leaders Ayr will look to extend their advantage with a win over fourth-placed Melrose. Showing how tight the middle of the league is, the visitors could either climb to second or drop to seventh depending on how results go.
Gala will also be reaching for second in the table when they travel to Biggar, who will be looking for a second consecutive win after an impressive victory over Melrose last weekend.
There is a Glasgow derby at Braidholm as GHA host Glasgow Academicals. The hosts are four points behind Accies so will look to overtake their city rivals with a win.
Bottom side GHK could climb off the foot of the table with a win at home to second-placed Highland, who will look to narrow the 16-point gap between themselves and leaders Ayr.
But ninth-placed Dundee will look to keep GHK where they are with a win away to seventh-placed Watsonians.
This week, Biggar v Gala and GHA v Glasgow Accies kick off at 2pm. The remaining fixtures all kick off at 3pm.