Currie Chieftains coach Ben Cairns has the rare luxury of naming an unchanged squad as he prepares for tomorrow’s BT Premiership clash with Stirling County at Malleny Park (3pm).
Chieftains produced an exceptional fightback to overcome Glasgow Hawks last Saturday and Cairns wants his men to resume where they left off against visitors with aspirations of moving into the play-off places. “Obviously, we will aim to start better this weekend but the belief and resilience to come back from 27-0 down last week was very pleasing,” he said. “It is another match with a number of exciting young talents on show and we would hope the Malleny faithful come out again to get behind the boys in what is another important match.”
Cairns again has Glasgow Warriors stand-off Adam Hastings available and, with Charlie Shiel on duty with Edinburgh Rugby, Jamie Forbes continues at scrum-half.
Watsonians travel to meet Hawks at New Anniesland – their opponents’ home pitch remains unplayable – and will be bracing themselves for a potential backlash to last week’s second-half collapse by Hawks at Currie.
Coach Steve Lawrie recalls Ali Harris and Rory Drummond to his starting line-up as he seeks a more consistent performance than the showing at Hawick in which Sonians battled back to post a bonus-point win.
“The second-half performance is something that we have looked to build on at training this week and we know that we will need to play better for longer as we aim to become a more robust outfit,” he said. “Hawks are a side that boast a good deal of professional experience and we know that we will need to match their physicality in order to stand a chance.”
Heriot’s are on the road to face champions Ayr. The Goldenacre men sit second in the table after four successive wins. But coach Phil Smith knows his players will need to be at their best to trouble the title holders.
Smith has promoted Robert Kay, John Rae and Liam Steele after performing well in the second team, and welcomes back Jack Turley, while Alex Ball – a double try scorer off the bench last week – starts at scrum-half in place of the injured Tom Wilson.
“We are hoping the confidence we have gained from our recent victories will allow us to compete at the required level at the home of last year’s champions,” said Smith. “With the weather turning a bit wet in the west recently it may well become a war of attrition down at Millbrae. This means we will have to be clinical with any chances that arise, while at the same time having to defend clinically against the Ayr onslaught that will undoubtedly be waiting for us.”
At Meggetland, second-bottom Boroughmuir welcome basement outfit Hawick in a match that, even at this early stage in the season, looks to be a must-win encounter for both clubs.
Coach Peter Wright, who has freshened up his starting side with the inclusion of Grant McConnell, Michael Brown, Jonny Adams, Archie Erskine and Dan Marek, said, “It is a real eight pointer, with both teams desperate for a win.” In addition to vital league points, there is silverware up for grabs in the form of the Hugh McMaster Trophy which is contested in memory of the flanker who played for both clubs and died 15 years ago.
Edinburgh Accies, who lead the way in BT National Division One, put their unbeaten record on the line when they travel to face second-placed Gala.