Currie coach Ben Cairns is urging his men to go back to basics when they face Gala at Malleny Park on BT Premiership duty tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
A heavy defeat at Ayr featured some solid individual contributions but the positive aspects were more than offset by too many below-par showings and a high error count that handed the initiative to opponents whose clinical finishing power produced eight tries. Cairns is now looking for a reaction.
“Last week was obviously not the way we wanted or expected to start our league campaign,” he said. “Our performance levels were well short of what we are capable of and although it was a heavy defeat we take some comfort in the knowledge we can produce a much higher level and one that will enable us to win rugby matches. The focus this week has therefore been on getting our foundations right.”
Tomorrow’s opponents are also looking to bounce back from a hefty loss last Saturday, although the Borderers had the consolation of a four-try bonus point in going down against Glasgow Hawks.
Cairns, who has Glasgow Warriors props Jarred Firth and Alex Allan in his squad and lists Richard Snedden to start at scrum-half in place of Charlie Shiel, added: “Gala, we know, will have looked at our match and will be targeting this week as a chance for them to get that all-important first win of the season too. They finished the game pretty strongly versus Hawks, culminating in a try bonus point and we know this will be a tight contest as both teams scrap for the morale boost winning will produce.”
Ayr will be in the Capital tomorrow to face defending champions Heriot’s, who were on the wrong end of a 28-15 score away to Watsonians when the league campaign kicked off.
The Goldenacre men had several players unavailable against Sonians and coach Phil Smith will be pleased to welcome back skipper Rory Carmichael and winger Harry Boisseau, who start on the bench alongside Edinburgh back rower Cornell Du Preez.
“Despite the defeat last week the lads have taken it on the chin and recognised a couple of areas of improvement which has seen a positive training week, possibly helped by the increase of numbers at training,” commented Smith who expects the rerun of last season’s Premiership grand final to be a top-notch affair. “Callum (Forrester, the Ayr coach) has another strong group who have started well while we are looking to get into the season with a more rounded display. If the weather can stay fair it promises to be another cracker.”
Elsewhere, Boroughmuir proved that they have sufficient firepower to score points as they crossed the whitewash four times in their loss at Melrose. Muir coach Peter Wright will be looking for a repeat of that attacking effort tomorrow when Stirling County visit Meggetland, but will want to cut the defensive frailty.
Wright, who has Edinburgh centre Michael Allen at his disposal, said: “After a disappointing performance last week the players have sat down and looked at how we can improve. A really positive session on Tuesday addressed some of the issues. Stirling are always a big physical team and we must match this physicality to give ourselves a chance of victory.”
Sonians started life back in the top flight in impressive fashion and will look to build on that success with a win away to Hawick. A feature of last week’s success was a solid showing by the front row. However, coach Marcus Di Rollo has lost the services of former Edinburgh tight-head prop Ewan McQuillin who has returned to the professional ranks after signing for London Scottish. Shaun Ruwers takes McQuillin’s place, while Angus Duckett makes his first start since signing from Selkirk and a strong bench features Edinburgh pros Sean Kennedy and Viliami Fihaki.
Di Rollo has warned his men to prepare for a tough assignment. “We have had to make a few changes this week and Mansfield Park is never an easy place to go so the guys will have to be focused from the off.”