Currie coach Ben Cairns is hoping that conditions will favour the running rugby he demands of his players as they prepare to welcome Glasgow Hawks tomorrow (kick-off 3pm), knowing that defeat could end hopes of landing the fourth BT Premiership play-off spot.
The postponement of last week’s match at Boroughmuir means Currie have two matches to play. They trail Heriot’s by three points, meaning defeat against Hawks and a win for the Goldenacre outfit away to Stirling County would settle the issue.
Cairns was frustrated by Saturday’s call off, but has rested his Under-20 internationals and remained faithful to the players who would have started at Meggetland. The only change to his squad is on the bench where Paul Mundell comes in for Dan Marek who misses out through illness for an encounter that will be the final home fixture of the season for Currie.
“It was very disappointing not to have played last weekend in what is already a fairly disjointed second half of the season,” said Cairns. “However, with Melrose scraping through against Heriot’s we now know what we need to do to make the play-offs. That starts with getting a win this weekend against a Hawks side who I am sure will want to bounce back after a disappointing result versus Ayr last time out. Both teams like to throw the ball around a bit so let’s hope for some decent weather that allows for an entertaining match in our last outing at Malleny this season.”
Heriot’s coach Phil Smith is wary of a Stirling side that is still not clear of the relegation play-off. Smith, who has Michael Maltman available after the flanker’s red card against Melrose was overturned, is urging his men to be at their best from the kick-off as they seek a win and then hope that Currie slip up.
Struan Cessford and Struan Dewar both return while Robbie Mulveena moves to the wing to accommodate Edinburgh centre Junior Rosalea.
“We will be looking for a strong end to the campaign as we continue to press for that fourth play-off spot,” said Smith. “If we can get into our stride early we will hopefully be able to apply the pressure required. If we don’t, we know we will be in for a tough afternoon, as Stirling at home is a tough proposition irrespective of league positions.”
Boroughmuir are also desperate for points as they travel to meet a Gala side that is all but doomed to the drop. Muir coach Peter Wright hands the scrum-half shirt to Blair Mills and welcomes back Scotland Under-20 duo Jamie Ure and Ronan Kerr.
Wright is wary of a potential backlash from Gala following the Borderers’ loss against fellow strugglers Hawick last week, saying: “Mathematically Gala can still avoid the drop and we have to respect that so it is important that we go into this game with the right mindset. Gala will be hurting and want to show people that after last week’s disappointment that they are still a force to be reckoned with.”
There are no such issues for Watsonians who are now ensconced in mid-table comfort after a win over Stirling last week. Marcus Di Rollo, who is leaving the Myreside club, will look to sign off on a winning note as he takes charge for the final time when Sonians travel to face leaders Ayr tomorrow. The visitors won the reverse fixture earlier in the league programme and will be looking to round off a successful first campaign back in the top flight on a positive note.
“I was very pleased with the hard work the players put in last week and we want to end the season with another good performance,” said Di Rollo.