Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright has handed debuts to four of his new signings for tomorrow’s BT Premiership opener against champions Ayr at Meggetland tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
Muir won the corresponding fixture last season but inconsistency for much of the campaign meant they were battling for survival rather than challenging for a play-off spot, something the coach hopes to change this time.
Wright admits that selection was tricky and the task of finalising his line-up was not helped by the unavailability of six players. He has handed starting berths to winger Ciaran Whyte, hooker Johnny Matthews, lock Dan Marek and No.8 Tom Drennan. ‘uir are also boosted by the return of scrum-half Johnny Adams after a long-term injury, while there is place on the bench for Cal Davies, back after a spell in New Zealand.
Relishing a tough opening day assignment, Wright said: “There are no easy games in the Premiership but to start against the current champions is really exciting and something the players and coaches are really looking forward to. Ayr will be keen to make up for their defeat in the charity shield match last week so our players know they have to play at the top of their game to even have a sniff of victory.”
Across the city, Heriot’s entertain Stirling County, with home coach Phil Smith welcoming back Jack Turley who spent last year south of the border with Fylde. Also returning to the side is Stuart Edwards who has recovered from a serious injury. New signings Ross Jones, Craig Robertson and Adam Sinclair all start.
“Our pre-season has been good though there is still plenty to work on, with the number of new recruits and returning players trying to fit into our structure and culture,” said Smith. “Hopefully this will not affect the flow of the game and both teams are able to show their best form from the off, particularly as good weather is forecast.”
Smith’s former assistant Steve Lawrie is now at the helm of Watsonians and he faces a tough baptism as he takes his side to the Greenyards to meet current BT Cup holders Melrose, who showed they are ready for the rigours of the new season when they beat Ayr in last weekend’s BT Charity Shield.
Lawrie has wasted no time in imposing his style on the squad, with Finn Hobbis, Jamie Hodgson, Willie Thomson, Ewan Fox and Michael Allen making their league debuts while Rory Hutton starts on the bench and Michael Fedo returns after a sojourn in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We know just how tough a prospect travelling to the Greenyards for game number one represents,” said Lawrie, acknowledging Melrose’s charity shield success. “However, we welcome the challenge and understand that we will need to be at our very best in order to obtain the performance we desire.”
Meanwhile, Currie Chieftains travel to face Hawick. The pre-match mood will be sombre with the players paying their respects to Graham Hogg, who had a significant influence on both clubs and died last month.
Chieftains coach Ben Cairns names Dutch internationalist Vince Wright in the second row and has three other new faces on the bench.
“Hawick away first up will test how far we have come over a busy summer. The club’s rebranding continues to be a success and we are hoping to see that positive energy translate into our performance on the pitch,” said Cairns. “Hawick will be delighted to have the services of two pros this week and we are in no doubt about the challenge we face to take the spoils.”