Currie aim to continue hot streak at Accies

John Cox, left, in action with Stirling's R McAlpine. Picture: Dan Phillips
John Cox, left, in action with Stirling's R McAlpine. Picture: Dan Phillips
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For the first time this season Currie could move off the foot of the Scottish Rugby Premiership tomorrow.

Coach Ally Donaldson’s team head for Edinburgh Accies knowing victory, on a day when second bottom Stirling County entertain third bottom Aberdeen Grammar FPs, could mean more vital steps being taken towards top-flight survival. Currie looked dead and buried until winning at Stirling then immediately following up with a home success against champions Ayr this month.

According to clubs’ international prop John Cox, it was only a matter of time until things clicked although nothing is being taken for granted.

“We are starting to gel and some of the younger guys are realising they are not there to make up numbers or just to gain experience.

“Everybody needs to be at the top of their game as every remaining match now is the equivalent of a cup final.

“We just needed that win at Stirling to generate a bit of belief. Leaving the pitch following the win over Ayr, a few of us longer serving guys looked at each other and thought ‘now, that was like the Currie team of old – at last’.”

Currie have been forced to completely re-shape their line-up.

“What made a difference in kick-starting our season” admitted Cox “was the arrival of Edinburgh pros Tom Brown and Stuart McInally.”

While Brown is now fully fit and back with Edinburgh, McInally continues to learn the hooking craft having converted from back row.

“Stuart’s switch has had a positive effect on regular hooker David Cherry. Stuart’s presence on the bench and his input at training have helped to make David, a Scotland age-group cap, an even better player through having competition.”

The prospect of updating on McInally’s progress is an intriguing aspect of tomorrow’s clash which sees Accies bid to climb into the top half of the table a week ahead of resuming their British and Irish Cup challenge featuring back-to-back meetings with London Welsh, the first away from home.

Cox said: “Stuart’s line-out throwing is getting better every week and I can vouch for the quality of his scrummaging being alongside in the front row.

“We also have Romanian Petre Neacsu in the side compared to when we lost by a last-minute try to Accies at home so there are fresh questions to be asked.

“Current form really is night and day from the beginning of this season but we respect the fact Accies went to Stirling last week and won.”

That did Currie an enormous favour although, as Cox acknowledged, the appropriate response is now to try and beat them.

And, while Currie have shown some never-say-die spirit, so too have Accies who trailed 16-30 entering the final quarter at Stirling before winning with a bonus-point try.

The scorer, Ruaridh Bonner, continues at stand off and coach Jonny Else is pleased to have Jamie Farndale recovered from a foot injury and on the bench.

Else said: “Ally (Donaldson) will have his squad ready to battle up front allowing them to unleash their exciting backline. We must ensure that we are ready.”

Donaldson, who will give a late fitness test to flanker Mark Cairns, said: “Accies have quality throughout and a healthy sprinkling of pros and Edinburgh development players.”

Elsewhere Heriot’s bid to complete a double over Ayr when they head for Millbrae.

Max Nimmo returns to the backs but Jason Hill and Max Learmonth drop out injured.

Edinburgh’s Sam Hidalgo-Clyne covers scrum half from the bench while Ayr call upon Glasgow stand off Finn Russell.

Stewart’s Melville, Boroughmuir and Watsonians are all at home in the National League to, respectively, Selkirk, Peebles and Hillhead/Jordanhill.

‘Muir recall Craig Marshall and Jonny Latta at stand off and prop while Stew/Mel give a debut to flanker Stuart Wilson on a day when Fraser Strachan returns at scrum half and Sam Hampson stands by for a first appearance from off the bench.

For ‘Sonians Jack Ferguson is with the Scotland Sevens squad in Dubai so Ewan Miller reverts to the wing from back-row.