Men’s Premiership & National 1 Preview | Round 18

Men’s Premiership & National 1 Preview | Round 18

All you need to know as we enter the final full round of the Men's Premiership regular season, as well as four fixtures in National League Division 1.

Currie Chieftains v Edinburgh Academical – Malleny Park, 2pm

A win for Currie Chieftains could be huge in their push for a home playoff semi-final, while a loss for Edinburgh Academical would end their playoff push altogether.

Currie are currently in third, two points behind Marr who they host at Malleny next weekend.

Accies are in fifth, one point behind Kelso in fourth, but have played a game more than the Borders side.

Currie Chieftains Head Coach Mark Cairns said: “We have worked really hard this week to right some of the wrongs against Kelso last week, underpinned by
a need for a much higher off ball work rate.

“With two games of the regular season to go achieving a home
play-off semi-final is still in our hands.

“This week we take on an Accies team full of attacking threats and we’ll need to be at our best to get the win.”

Edinburgh Academical Head Coach Iain Berthinussen said: “We head to Malleny Park this weekend to play a Currie Chieftains team who will be wanting to right some wrongs from last week’s defeat to Kelso at Poynder Park.

“However, we also have some demons to right and finish a frustrating season on a high.”

Heriot’s Blues v Glasgow Hawks – Goldenacre, 2pm

Heriot’s Blues and Glasgow Hawks are both looking to begin a strong close to the season as they meet in Edinburgh.

Heriot’s sit in sixth, with two games left to play, while Hawks are in ninth with three games left and could still catch Selkirk in eighth.

Heriot’s Blues Head Coach Phil Smith said: “Last week’s performance was remarkable in the fact that we hadn’t played for so long and were playing the current league leaders.

“With that in mind, it is key for us to start as we finished and not lose the momentum.

“Hawks will bring a physical edge that will hopefully bring us all into focus.”

Glasgow Hawks Head Coach Andy Hill said: “Our games against Heriot’s are always enjoyable affairs, and our lads love travelling there as they have one of, if not the best pitch in Scotland to play some running rugby.

“Phil has done what he’s always done which is great create a good team that are difficult to beat and that is why they are pushing for top four. From watching them, they have a much harder edge than when we last played them which is built upon a strong scrum and maul. We will need to front up here while maintaining our attacking edge.

“We felt as if we weren’t far off of things clicking against Musselburgh so it’s been small fixes this week while highlighting how important our own discipline is.”

Musselburgh v Marr – Stoneyhill, 2pm 

Marr will look to keep their slender lead in second place in tact with a win away to Musselburgh as they fight for a home semi-final.

Marr are two points above third-placed Currie, and travel to face them next week in both sides’ final regular season fixture.

Musselburgh Head Coach Derek O’Riordan said: “You might be forgiven for thinking the game at the weekend means little to us given we are safe and with Kelso taking control of fourth spot (and rightly so). That couldn’t be further from the truth. 

“Depending on how things go at the weekend we can finish higher than we ever have before – or, things go another way and we remain as we are and Marr secure a much sought after home semi-final a week early. 

“Fortunately, while it means a lot there is little in the way of pressure on us which is pretty liberating, so the boys have license to take the shackles off, have a crack and hopefully see the season off in style.”

Jed-Forest v Kelso – Riverside Park, 3pm

Kelso could all but wrap up the final playoff spot when they travel to Jed-Forest.

Kelso are one point clear in fourth going into the game, with a game in hand on fifth place Accies.

Jed will be hoping to pick up a first win of the season in their second-last attempt.

Selkirk v Hawick – Philiphaugh, 3pm

Any points at all from Hawick’s trip to Selkirk will secure them top spot going into the playoffs.

Hawick are on 72 points going into their final regular season game, 10 points ahead of Marr who have a game in hand.

Selkirk are in eighth, but could still catch the two sides closest to them.

Hawick Director of Rugby Gary Muir said: “This weekend will see us complete our regular season campaign with a 4th away fixture in a row and there will not be many tougher places to go than Philiphaugh.

“Sesh has Selkirk finding their form of late so we will need to be focused from the first minute to the last in order to achieve anything from this game.

“We have had a strong week at training and with New Zealand U20 Coach Craig Dunlea providing a fresh pair of eyes this week and a fairly settled squad we will hopefully be on the right side of the result come full time on Saturday. This won’t be for the faint hearted, Border Derbies never are!”

National 1

In National League Division 1, at the bottom of the table ninth placed Dundee host eighth placed Gala.

GHA could climb into the top three with a win at home to Biggar.

With two games in hand on most teams, Glasgow Academicals will look to start a late push up the table with a win at home to Highland.

And fifth placed Watsonians could swap places with third placed Melrose with a win at Myreside.

This week, all four games kick off at 2pm on Saturday.

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