EDINBURGH ACCIES don’t do things the easy way, as five out of six wins by a single score at Scottish Rugby Premiership level over this season and last demonstrates.
But a couple of one-point successes entering the 2013-14 campaign also confirms an ability to show resolve and resist opposition attacks that will continue to be an asset when Hawick visit Raeburn Place tomorrow.
“We do pretty well at holding off rivals,” admitted former Scotland Under-20 international back row Tom Drennan, adding: “but I think what we have seen so far in terms of tight matches is going to be the pattern for this league.
“Fortunately, we are developing an ability whereby the more we keep them out, the more inclined some are to lose the head a bit and we can take advantage of that.”
Promoted Hawick head for the Capital still looking for a win at the third attempt.
Drennan added: “This will be our first encounter of the season with Border opposition, but we’ve played sides from that area often enough to know what will be coming our way, especially with Hawick still seeking a win and keen to prove they belong back up in the top division.
“We’ll have to be ready.”
Coach Simon Cross may have moved to Worcester to be replaced by his assistant Jonny Else but the personnel this season has been virtually unchanged.
When Alex Allan returns from a broken leg tomorrow, he will be only the 17th player used by Accies in three matches, albeit the third loose head prop.
“Understanding is a big part of what we are about, although with Jonny taking over, there have been some small changes in our approach,” says Drennan, who is enjoying being back in the breakaway trio after giving sterling service at second row.
“I could sense teams thinking they would have an edge over me – size-wise – at the line-out, so it’s good that Jamie McCarthy has fought his way up from the seconds to give us a bit more bulk.
“There’s more scope to run in the back row, but with Callum Reid (Scotland under-20s) due back from injury soon, that is keeping everybody on their toes, including our new recruit from university rugby, Neil Aitken.
“In the last couple of years, I feel I’ve been filling in out of position and hopefully I can contribute even more from No. 8,” said Drennan.
Lining up on the Hawick bench is one-time Edinburgh stand off Rory Hutton.
Elsewhere, Heriot’s welcome captain Jack Turley to the squad for the first time in nine months after injury when they visit Stirling County, while sevens cap Mike Maltman is on the flank.
Coach Phil Smith played down last weekend’s dramatic comeback to beat Gala, saying: “Despite everyone else’s shock, the squad did not see it as one because they knew that if they put it altogether they would get the reward. The task now is to back it up and start better.”
Stirling’s only change is the inclusion of Scotland second row Tom Ryder on release from Glasgow.
Currie head for Ayr in search of a first win with a stronger side than lost at home to Stirling. Club internationalists Mark Cairns and Ross Weston are fit to return to the back row, while sevens cap Andy Turnbull takes over on the wing from Calum Kerr, a double try scorer last week.
Ayr are also able to enlist pros with experienced Scotland hooker Dougie Hall returning from injury on the bench alongside Finn Russell, who also turned out for Glasgow last season and is just back from a Macphail Scholarship in New Zealand.
At flanker, James Eddie is made available by Glasgow.
In the National League, Boroughmuir stake their early 100 per cent record against similarly unbeaten Dundee High at Meggetland, with Angus Wallace making a first start at prop.
Replacing unavailable second row Greig Scott is Adam Best, while Craig Marshall takes over from Calum Cusiter among the subs.
Table-topping Watsonians have started with two bonus-point wins and, for the home clash with Biggar, make a single change – Ramsay Young’s two tries from off the bench at Selkirk earning him a first start on the wing.
At Inverleith, Stewart’s/Melville await Peebles.