Currie coach Cairns wary of Accies in derby

Mike Cusack. Picture: SNS
Mike Cusack. Picture: SNS
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Currie coach Ben Cairns has turned to recent BT Premiership rugby history in warning his side against complacency going into tomorrow’s Capital derby with Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place.

While Currie sit on the cusp of entering the top four which, at the end of the season, would guarantee a play-off place, former Scotland centre Cairns has first-hand experience of just how quickly fortunes can change.

Pointing to Accies’ position at the foot of the table, a wary Cairns said: “Accies would obviously like to have had more points on the board by this stage. However, we will not be fooled by their position.

“From keeping a close eye on their results throughout, it is obvious that they have been extremely unlucky in a number of games, with a number of factors conspiring against them.

“We found ourselves in a very similar position this time last year and we know how powerful that collective desperation for a result can be in driving a team performance.”

In fact, Accies currently have 14 points from their initial 11 games. By comparison, at the same stage of 2013-14, Currie had three points fewer, yet a remarkable run saw them go unbeaten through seven of their concluding eight games.

Intriguingly, the result that sparked the run was a last gasp 40-39 win over Accies at tomorrow’s venue!

Cairns is bullish about current prospects: “We have a real strength to our squad at present, with selection becoming more and more difficult.

“Two Glasgow pros are available to us and go and straight into the starting side, with Mike Cusack at tight head prop as he continues to regain match fitness after a lengthy spell out. James Downey comes in at inside centre allowing Matt McPhillips to move to the back three in place of the injured Ruaridh Smith.

“Matt Goodwin starts at hooker in place of Kev Bryce, who is not released by Glasgow, in the only change to a dominant pack last time out against Gala.

“Duncan Swanson, home from Newcastle University, takes a spot on the bench.”

Accies had originally been able to include international prop Alex Allan, but his recall by Glasgow sees Duncan Morrison, a try scorer in their last home league encounter with Melrose, restored.

Second row Alex Toolis is the only fully contracted pro in Accies line-up, but close attention will be paid to Edinburgh apprentices Alex Glashan and Chris Dean after the pair combined superbly on occasions in last week’s narrow defeat at Boroughmuir.

The latter, in particular, caught the eye with some excellent running angles to get in behind the midfield defence.

The challenge for Boroughmuir is to do what no team managed last season and inflict home and away defeats on Melrose, the champions.

Earlier this season, ‘Muir went to the Greenyards and won 31-25, although of the back line which started that day, only scrum half Jonny Adams remains in the same position and he will have his hands full with Edinburgh and Scotland A scrum half Sean Kennedy as his opposite number.

Edinburgh have also released Tom Brown and Simon Bergham to Boroughmuir along with teenager Magnus Bradbury who debuted against Leinster last month. Melrose also recall Peter Eccles (ex-Heriot’s) to the back row after the birth of his daughter.

Title chasing Heriot’s head for Stirling County with Edinburgh back row Jamie Ritchie starting and Max Learmonth taking over from Harry Boisseau, who is at the Dubai sevens.

In the National League, fourth-placed Watsonians, with Niall Dennis replacing Dubai-bound Simon Taylor, have the chance to leapfrog second-placed GHA when the teams meet in Glasgow. Stewart’s/Melville are at Aberdeen Grammar FPs.