Former Scotland rugby cap record holder Scott Hastings believes scrum-half Brian Walls is the player to help his Watsonians club keep alive hopes of a swift return to the top flight of the Scottish Premiership in a key clash with Biggar at Myreside tomorrow.
Watsonians need to win to be sure of finishing in the top four of Division Two which will soon take part in a round-robin series with Division One’s bottom four from where two teams will progress to a -ten team elite in 2012-13.
Hastings looked on as Watsonians withstood a late fightback to claim leaders Stewart’s Melville’s 100 per cent record for the season last weekend and reach second in the table but with Hamilton, Jed-Forest and Selkirk breathing down their necks.
“From the World Cup final at Eden Park to Myreside for successive matches was quite a journey but tremendously enjoyable given the quality of the tries scored by both teams last week,” said Hastings whose had the last of 65 Scotland appearances in 1997.
He added: “Last week Watsonians were a credit to coaches Marcus Di Rollo and Stu Reid and, at the heart of their effort, was Brian Walls. Brian isn’t the biggest player and what makes him tick is the way he reads the game very, very well. I enjoyed watching the way he controlled matters behind a pack who provided some good quality possession. On occasions there was plenty that had to be tidied up by the forwards but Stuart Reid will be aware of that and Brian knew when to get the line moving and when to kick.”
The Stew/Mel website was also full of praise for ex-Musselburgh ace Walls, noting: “Walls has proved such a find for Watsonians; he is a natural place kicker and strikes the ball so cleanly.” According to Hastings the threat from ’Sonians goes much further. Breaking off from Sky Sports commentary preparations for next week’s Heineken European Cup clash between London Irish and Edinburgh, he said: “Marcus Di Rollo did a good job as full back at the heart of a back three also comprising Ally Rowe and Dougie Brown.”
At Inverleith, Stew/Mel entertain Selkirk in what is, effectively, a lap of honour as they mark time being already through to the next phase of the promotion chase when previous scores are wiped clean.
It’s a different story in Division One with points gained carried over into the A section. That means Currie will be keen to bounce back from last week’s defeat by Stirling when they visit Edinburgh Accies.
Debuting at scrum-half will be Johny Bruton (ex-Dunfermline) while Steve Burton, a late call off last week, returns as do Ross Weston and James Johnstone.
Pride is the spur for an Accies team who lost 23-29 at champions Melrose last week.
Coach Simon Cross says: “This group really came of age and have an opportunity to impress against another top club.
“It’s the same starting team minus professionals (Andy) Kelly and (Lewis) Niven and Robin Snape who picked up an injury. Michael Liness and Kenny Blyth come into the front row with Tom Drennan replacing Snape and Angus Graham coming onto the bench.”
For Heriot’s, who are also bound for the B group, a trip to Dundee sees Max Nimmo replace unavailable Cammy Ferguson with Stuart Mustard starting at hooker and Chris Mulligan and Nick Alston on the bench. Boroughmuir’s trip to Aberdeen could see them leapfrog their hosts into seventh position.