Round Four: Premier 1 Preview

Week four of the revitalised Scottish Rugby Premier One season kicks off this weekend, with the pressure mounting week on week as the clubs edge towards the 11 week cut-off to make the top eight.

Highlights this weekend see Ayr host Heriot's at Millbrae in a match between two of the four remaining undefeated teams, table-topping Glasgow Hawks head for the home of current champions, Currie, who are yet to win a match this season; last season's third and fourth-placed finishers, Melrose and Dundee, battle it out at the Greenyards; Watsonians have the chance to taste their first victory in the an Edinburgh derby at Myreside against Boroughmuir; Stirling County will try to leap-frog Selkirk into the top eight at Bridgehaugh and West of Scotland take on a winless Hawick at Burnbrae.

 

Ayr edged Heriot's in a cracking cup semi-final at Millbrae last season

Week four of the revitalised Scottish Rugby Premier One season kicks off this weekend, with the pressure mounting week on week as the clubs edge towards the 11 week cut-off to make the top eight.

Highlights this weekend see Ayr host Heriot's at Millbrae in a match between two of the four remaining undefeated teams, table-topping Glasgow Hawks head for the home of current champions, Currie, who are yet to win a match this season; last season's third and fourth-placed finishers, Melrose and Dundee, battle it out at the Greenyards; Watsonians have the chance to taste their first victory in the an Edinburgh derby at Myreside against Boroughmuir; Stirling County will try to leap-frog Selkirk into the top eight at Bridgehaugh and West of Scotland take on a winless Hawick at Burnbrae.


UNDEFEATED SIDES GO HEAD TO HEAD: AYR V HERIOT'S, MILLBRAE
Only four sides remain undefeated in 2010/11 Premier 1 season and two of them go head to head this weekend as Ayr take on Heriot’s at home.

Ayr team news: Scott Forrest returns from Commonwealth Games Sevens squad training to partner Mark Stewart in the centre. Forrest’s reintroduction sees Mark Bennett moves on to the wing following an impressive performance last weekend against Dundee. The pack remains unchanged.

Ayr assistant coach, Peter Laverie, said: “Heriot’s represent another big challenge. They have been going very well this season and will no doubt wish to avenge last season’s defeats against us. It’s at Millbrae with two teams enjoying a winning streak so it could be a cracker. We will need to be at our very best to take this one.”
Heriot’s coach, Bob McKillop, said: “We are looking to improve on our attacking game in what will be a very tough test. Ayr is one of the toughest places to win, but the atmosphere the crowd creates makes it a good place to play. We're looking forward to a massive challenge.”

Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Mark Bennett, Scott Forrest, Mark Stewart, Cammy Taylor; Ross Curle, Jamie Hunter; Nick Cox, Stuart Fenwick, Andy Kelly, Glen Tippett, Damien Kelly CAPTAIN, Johnno Crossan, Robbie Colhoun, Andy Dunlop
Substitutes: Stephen Adair, Gordon Reid, Scott Nimmo, AJ Macfarlane, Steven Manning

Heriot’s team: Colin Goudie; Max Nimmo, Max Learmonth, (Gregor Hunter/Pete Saunders), Gary Bryce; Cammy Ferguson, Graham Wilson CAPTAIN, Alan Dymock, (Finlay Gillies/Scott Burnett/Kevin Bryce), (Wullie Blacklock/Gavin Cameron), Jason Hill, (Matthew Reid/R Martin), (Jamie Parker/Mark Lee), Peter Eccles, Struan Dewar

Referee: Robert McHenry (SRU)


LEAGUE LEADERS FACE THE CHAMPIONS: CURRIE v HAWKS, MALLENY PARK
Current league leaders, Glasgow Hawks, face league champions, Currie, who chase their first win of the season.

Currie team news: Cypriot stand-off Andrew Binikos comes in for the young Matt Scott. A hand injury for full-back Hayden Abercrombie sees him replaced by Johnny Smith with Tom Brown moving from full-back to wing. Drafted Edinburgh Rugby professional winger, Andrew Turnbull, starts on the bench.
Glasgow Hawks team news: Ankle injuries rule Craig Gossman and Davie Milne out of selection so Andy White moves to full-back from the stand-off berth which is filled by the returning Scotland 7s internationalist, Mike Adamson. Prop, Adrian Smith, keeps his place at loose-head after his try-scoring debut last week.

Currie head coach, Ally Donaldson, said: “Hawks will be coming to Malleny full of confidence and sitting top of the league. We are looking forward to the challenge this strong team presents and we have to focus on getting our own performance consistently right.”
Hawks coach, Peter Wright, said: “Last week we started and finished the game exceptionally well but the bit in between was disappointing. If we perform like that this week then we will be well beaten. Currie have still to win this season but by all accounts are playing some pretty good rugby and to go to their ground when they are looking for their first victory will be an extremely difficult challenge.”

Currie team: Johnny Smith; Tom Brown, James Johnston, Andy MacMahon, Douglas Fife; Andrew Binikos, Richard Snedden; John Cox, Fergus Scott, Alastair Hamilton, Ryan Wilson, Andy Adam CAPTAIN, Mark Cairns, Michael Entwhistle, Ross Weston
Substitutes: Neil Scobie, Ross Merrilees, Steve Burton, Matt Scott, Andrew Turnbull

Glasgow Hawks team: Andy White; Joffy White, Tom Preece, Dean Kelbrick, Kerr Gossman; Mike Adamson, Peter  Jericevich; Adrian Smith, Eric Milligan, George Hunter, Robert Niven, Andy Kirkland, Rory McKay, Andy Hill, Ross Miller
Substitutes: Gary Strain, Nico Nyemba, Rory Hamilton, Kris Hamilton, Tom Steven

Referee: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)


MELROSE v DUNDEE, THE GREENYARDS

Melrose team news: Ben Allen and Ewan Ford replace Jamie Murray Craig Jackson in the centres. Scott McCormick replaces Robert Chrystie at scrum-half, Wayne Mitchell replaces Richard Ferguson at hooker and Ross Miller and Graham Dodds swap positions (Miller reverting to lock and Dodds going to number 8).
Dundee team news: Top try-scorer Matt Smith returns to the starting line up on the wing after missing last week’s defeat to Ayr. Drafted professional Peter Murchie of Glasgow Warriors makes his Dundee debut at full-back with his team mate, Peter Horne, moving into the midfield, with James Fleming moving back to the wing.

Melrose head coach, Craig Chalmers, said: “Dundee are a very well drilled side and are a tough team to play against home or away. Dundee look like they are at full strength and, with the added bonus of Glasgow Warriors professionals (Peter Horne and Peter Murchie) in their backline, we are under no elusions of how hard our task will be on Saturday.
“Although Dundee have not won a game yet, they have been scoring a lot of points, so our defense will have to be extremely good. I’m looking for much improved all round performance.”
Dundee director of rugby, Ian Rankin, said: “Melrose have probably the best attacking back line in the Premiership. We will have to be at our very best to cope with their flair and the passion they play with at the Greenyards. Having scored 55 points against Currie and Ayr in the last two weeks there is real potential for a high scoring game, and one that we are looking forward to.”

Melrose team: Fraser Thomson; Callum Anderson, Ben Allen, Ewan Ford, A Dodds; Scott Wight, Scott McCormick; Nicky Little, Wayne Mitchell, G Holburn, Ross Miller, G Elder, John Dalziel, G Runciman, Graham Dodds
Substitutes: Graham Innes, Kieran Cooney, H Mitchell, Robert Chrystie, Craig Jackson

Dundee team: Peter Murchie; James Fleming, Harry Duthie, Peter Horne, Matt Smith; Ali Oconnor, Andy Dymock; Neil Dymock, Simon Forrest, Alan Brown, Andy Linton, Richie Hawkins CAPTAIN, Chris Cumming, Rob Gray, Danny Levison
Substitutes: Callum Kerr, Darell Rusell, Ryan Milne, Rob Cessford, Alan Hay

Referee: Johann van der Merwe (SRU)


EDINBURGH DERBY: WATSONIANS v BOROUGHMUIR, MYRESIDE

Boroughmuir team news: Drafted Glasgow Warriors back-row, Chris Fusaro, makes his first start on the blind-side flank, Jamie Doubleday moves to number 8 and Ali Davidson returns in the second-row. The back line is still to be confirmed due to injury concerns.
Watsonians team news: Australian Dan Gorman is set to debut in the second-row after arriving last weekend while young forwards Ross Turner (front-row) and Duncan Finnie (back-row) earn selection in the squad. In the backs, captain Alan Nash, Ali Rowe and Jack Ferguson are out – in come influential centre Doug Brown to face his former side and teenagers Grant Somerville and Jamie Forbes.

Boroughmuir head coach, Peter Blackhall, said: We are looking forward to Saturday and playing on a good surface over at Myreside. The games against Watsonians are usually open affairs - Watsonians have been struggling over the pass few weeks but will be looking to kick-start their season.”

Boroughmuir team: (Backs from) Sam Johnson, Ali Warnock, James Fish, Stevie Wilson, Malcolm Clapperton, Tom Bury, Stephen Ruddick Robin Hislop, Sean Crombie, Nick Fraser, Tom McColl, Ali Davidson, C Fusaro, Neil Rodger, Jamie Doubleday
Substitutes: Greg Jones, Jonny Latta, Derek O'Riordan, Ross Samson, Harry Leonard

Watsonians squad: Jamie Forbes, Grant Somerville, Richard Minto, Andrew Skeen, Ross Aitken, Craig Sorbie, Mike Ker, Doug Brown, Jamie Blackwood, Scott Laird, Dougie Orr, Kian Coertze, Nick Hart, Donald Seed, Sergiu Ursache, Harris Grant, Dan Gorman, Sam Paulo, Duncan Finnie, Ross Turner

Referee: Marcus Caton (RFU)


TWO SIDES DESPERATE FOR POINTS: STIRLING COUNTY v SELKIRK

Stirling County team news: After last week’s disappointing performance in the closing stages of their defeat to Glasgow Hawks, Stirling have a lot to make up for in what will be a tough encounter against a Selkirk side also desperate for points. Andy Simpson replaces the unavailable Alex Moffatt while drafted Glasgow Warriors professional, Colin Shaw, joins the squad.

Selkirk head coach, Graham Marshall, said: “It’s always tough up at Bridgehaugh and Stirling have some excellent young players backed up with experience in certain positions. It was good to get a win last week and we are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday.”

Stirling County team: (to be confirmed)
Selkirk team: (to be confirmed)

Referee: Peter Allan (SRU)


TWO SIDES DESPERATE FOR POINTS: WEST OF SCOTLAND v HAWICK

West of Scotland team news: Guy Perrett comes back into the team with Jenkinson moving to number 8 and Morrison moving onto the bench. Murray McConnell is back from injury and Ian Henderson steps up to the bench from the second XV.
Hawick team news: Keith Davies has earned selected in second-row while drafted Glasgow Warriors centre, Alex Dunbar, starts in the centre, with Neil Renwick and Michael Robertson on the bench.

West of Scotland head coach, Keith Robertson, said: “We are looking to build on the good parts of the game last week but we know we are in for a very tough fixture against Hawick.”
Hawick head coach, Derek Armstrong, said: “Burnbrae is not a happy hunting ground for Hawick but we are keen to get more than just a bonus point this week. West have shown already this season that they will be difficult to beat on their own patch. We will need to be very focused.”

West of Scotland team: C Davis; M Simm, R Dalgleish, K Matheson, A McCall Hagen; A Stevenson, A Fisken; M Jenkinson, A De Ste Croix, D Young, G Perrett, R McAlpine, E McLaren, G Haswell, S Longwell
Substitutes: I Henderson, D McKenna, C Morrison, M McConnell, C McKenzie

Hawick team: Graham Hogg; Gary Johnstone, Stuart Hogg, Alex Dunbar, Steven Anderson; Rory Hutton, Greg Cottrell; Bruce McNeil, Matthew Landels, Sean Linton, Craig Charters, Keith Davies, Nick Mactaggart, Danny Landels, David Lowrie
Substitutes: Neil Renwick, Michael Robertson, Gary Lowrie, Alistair Marsh, Lindsey Gibson

Referee: David Walker (SRU)