Heriot’s skipper Jack Turley believes his players are in a good place as they build up to big few weeks in which they will aim to win a league and cup double.
And the 27-year-old Scotland Club XV internationalist has praised the way the players who have come into the first XV group in 2015/16 have settled in and helped the club’s standards improve.
In yesterday’s BT Cup semi-final draw, Heriot’s were paired away to Glasgow Hawks – Ayr and Melrose will play in the other tie – while they are also through to the BT Premiership title play-offs.
On March 26, they will travel to Old Anniesland in the BT Cup semi-final and then seven days later they will take on Currie in the BT Premiership semi-final.
The venue for the latter match depends on whether Currie can beat Gala this coming weekend or not – but wherever it is, Kiwi Turley and Co will be ready.
“I have been pleased with how this season has gone overall to date, but now we have to re-set and get ready for these big matches coming up,” he said.
“Coming into the season as BT Premiership champions meant that teams were always going to target us and there was going to be added pressure on us.
“The top-flight is so tight and it maybe took us a bit of time to get into our stride, but the guys have continued to work very hard and our aim was to make the top four and get at least to the semis of the cup.
“Now that we have done that we are fully focused on the matches against Hawks and Currie. To win the double would take some doing, but we have great belief amongst this group of players.”
After they won the BT Premiership Grand Final in dramatic circumstances last April against Melrose, Heriot’s coaches Phil Smith and Steve Lawrie were quick to strengthen their squad for this campaign.
The likes of Murray McCallum, Michael Liness, Roan Van Heerden, Iain Wilson and Struan Dewar have made big impacts in the pack while John Semple has been a very reliable full-back.
“At first, I thought our squad was fairly settled, but then I started looking around at pre-season training and realised there were more new faces that I had realised,” second-row/back-row Turley admitted.
“However, the great thing about all of the newer guys has been that they have bought into Phil and Steve’s vision for what we want to do and they have really created a lot of competition for places.
“This, in turn, has made our second XV stronger and I know lots of boys will be trying to put their hands up to be selected for the big matches that are coming up.”
Nowhere has Heriot’s depth been more timely than at scrum-half.
A few weeks ago, long-serving No.9 Graham Wilson suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The Goldenacre men will still miss his leadership and kicking qualities in the run-in but, with former Melrose man Tom Wilson now at the club and able to fill in, the blow has been softened. And behind him, teenager Andrew Simmers is itching for a start and scored a try off the bench against Cartha in the quarter-finals last weekend.
Turley concluded: “I think we are in a very good place at the minute because we have a large squad of guys pushing each other and who are very keen to get their hands on more trophies.”
Should Heriot’s progress from the semi-finals in the BT Cup and the BT Premiership, the finals will be on April 16 and April 23 respectively.