Edinburgh Accies rugby coach Phil Leck is urging a revivalist side to keep feet firmly on the ground going into a vital BT Premiership clash at home to Melrose tomorrow.
Accies have opened their winning account in the past two weeks with back-to-back successes and, by scalping the champions, they could even move off the foot and climb to mid-table depending on results elsewhere.
The experienced Leck is quick to praise the skill and determination which has underpinned Accies’ surge, but, at the same time, stresses they are still a work in progress.
“We gave Melrose a scare in the Borders on the opening day of the season [27-16] and got within a score of most of the top five sides before we finally got a win,” said Leck. “We are now playing three times better than we were at the start.
“Nevertheless, we can’t get complacent, even though the only time we have been badly beaten this season was at Currie [38-19].
“We are under no illusions about the fact we are playing the champions and will just get stuck in, helped by tremendous spirit summed up by our flanker, Jamie Sole.
“Jamie has been going through walls for us and for a spell at Stirling last week I wanted to give him a rest. The look on Jamie’s face when he came off suggested he wanted to cut my throat [metaphorically!]
“Likewise, Matt Coupar started the season in our seconds, but has scored tries in the last three games and Iain Berthinussen is another who is providing a selection headache.
“What has also helped is the input from Lewis Niven [ex-Edinburgh] in strengthening our scrum, while Roddy Grant has been so influential in coaching the breakdown that, against Stirling, we held on to the ball for a full eight minutes at one stage.”
Player release from the professional teams can be a lottery and Accies have bore the brunt in weeks when Edinburgh have had an A team fixture and Glasgow haven’t.
“We took on Ayr when they had three pros and three elite development players, while against Currie they had three internationalists and two EDPs,” continued Leck. “The last three weeks have seen us able to field Alex Glashan on release and that has really helped us too.”
Melrose boast an impressive back-line containing Sevens caps Scott Wight, James Johnstone and Damien Hoyland.
It’s Boroughmuir’s turn to visit Stirling, with Frank Yawagawe and Apenai Kororua both starting on the wings and Ed Farquharson returning to full-back, with Jordan Edmunds moving into outside centre.
Up front, Cal Davies starts at hooker for the unavailable Sam Bingham, while Andrew Turnbull has been released from sevens duty and is on the bench.
Currie head for Hawick aiming to complete a league double. In the backs, Matt McPhillips comes in at full-back and there is an opportunity at centre for Robbie Nelson, with Frenchman William Martin starting on the wing.
Hooker Matt Goodwin returns at hooker and Paul Mundell starts at blindside flanker.
Heriot’s have the chance to avenge one of only two league defeats when they visit Glasgow Hawks and list a powerful bench containing Sevens cap Struan Dewar for the first time this season alongside George Turner and Jack Turley.