Coach Mark Cairns has hailed the efforts that have taken Currie Chieftains to the threshold of a home play-off in the BT Premiership.
And he is urging his men to complete the job when the regular season concludes tomorrow with a home fixture against Edinburgh Accies (3pm).
Cairns’ players have remained focused despite an unsuccessful Super 6 bid followed by the departure of their coach. A win tomorrow will secure a home tie in the knockout phase of the competition.
“The players deserve huge credit to have produced the consistency of performance, over a very turbulent season off the pitch,” said Cairns, who names Graeme Carson at hooker in place of injured captain Fergus Scott in an otherwise settled squad.
After a late season rally, Accies could yet avoid finishing in the basement slot if they can secure all five points, and second-bottom Hawick take nothing from their match at home to Heriot’s.
The visitors go into the match with a refreshed squad that features debutants Cameron McCrimmon, Liam Evans and Mungo Mason.
Coach Derek O’Riordan is already seeing the impact of preparations for the new league structure, saying: “Three of our players will definitely be swept away with Super 6 so it’s a farewell to them.”
Heriot’s still have a chance of finishing second if they can see off the Mansfield Park outfit in a match that is a rehearsal for their forthcoming Cup semi-final. Once again the Goldenacre outfit have no professionals released for the game, meaning they are in the unique position of having gone through the whole campaign without fielding any of the men allocated in the pre-season draft.
Heriot’s coach Phil Smith is relishing the challenge. “We will endeavour to put as much pressure on Currie as possible by going all out for the win at Mansfield.”
A win combined with favourable results elsewhere would deliver Heriot’s a play-off at home to either Chieftains or Melrose. The Borderers will be in the Capital to face Boroughmuir, who could do their city rivals a favour if they can produce their best form and round off a mixed campaign with a win that would mean Melrose facing table toppers Ayr in the play-offs and Chieftains taking on Heriot’s.
Ayr will be at Myreside to face Watsonians, who have Steve Lawrie in charge for the last time before becoming forwards coach at Edinburgh Rugby.