Heriot’s warned not to switch off against Hawick

Heriot's coach Phil Smith
Heriot's coach Phil Smith
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Heriot’s coach Phil Smith is reminding his men of the need to maintain concentration when the champions defend an unbeaten start to the BT Premiership campaign at Goldenacre tomorrow (k.o. 3pm) against a Hawick squad buoyed by their first win of the campaign.

Smith’s players have a maximum ten points from their opening two matches after a delayed start to the league campaign because of their involvement in the BT Charity Shield. However, he was disappointed with the performance in the second half last Saturday.

“After a weaker second half than we had hoped last week, the boys have been focused this week on playing for 80 minutes. However, that does not take away from a very spirited Selkirk side who will no doubt put other teams under the same kind of pressure,” said Smith who knows what to expect from a Hawick group primed by coach Nikki Walker to play flowing rugby.

“Hawick usually means an open ended game with both teams looking to exert pressure through keeping the ball in hand. It should be a terrific advert for the Premiership,” added Smith who makes two changes to his starting line up, with Gregor McNeish selceted at stand-off in place of Stuart Edwards, while Andy Matthews comes in on the wing for Max Learmonth.

Boroughmuir face a tough assignment away to table toppers Melrose. Boroughmuir coach Bruce Aitchison was left ruing the errors in last week’s draw at home to Currie. He has called up Jack Cosgrove, Iain Moody and Grant McConnell saying: “The squad are looking to build on last week and cut out the mistakes.”

Meanwhile, Currie also saw that result as a missed opportunity and will be looking to rediscover the winning feeling at home to basement side Selkirk. The Malleny Park men have been unlucky with injuries in the opening weeks and coach Ben Cairns has called up Harvey Elms to replace full back Ruaridh Young who took a knock last Saturday. Charlie Shiel is at scrum-half for the unavailable Richard Snedden, with Hamish Bain back at lock and influential skipper Ross Weston also returning.

In BT National Division One, only leaders Marr have an unbeaten record after Watsonians and Stewart’s Melville suffered their first losses last weekend. The Capital duo clash at Myreside tomorrow with Watsonians three points ahead of the Inverleith men thanks to two try bonuses and a narrow defeat last week, while StewMel have failed to land any extras.

Having chalked up their first win of the campaign last Saturday, Edinburgh Accies welcome Jed-Forest. Accies lost eight players after being relegated last season but new arrival Facundo Beltramino has helped ease the impact with impressive performances to date He has contributed 38 of his side’s 73 points.

Having gained promotion at the end of last season, Musselburgh have offered their supporters fantastic entertainment so far, although following the Stoneyhill men’s efforts has not been advisable for those of a nervous disposition.

Grant Talac’s men have displayed great battling qualities, particularly last Saturday when they clawed back 13 points with 20 minutes to play and snatched a dramatic injury time win over Watsonians through the reliable boot of Danny Owenson. They will be looking for a first away victory when they travel to face Aberdeen Grammar.

Preston Lodge will lay their unbeaten record in Division Two on the line away to early leaders Hamilton Bulls, who have averaged 51 points in winning each of their three matches. However, PL also harvested a half century last time out and will be relishing the challenge.

Beaten by Hamilton last Saturday, Lasswade face another tricky encounter away to second-placed Aberdeenshire.

In Division Three, Haddington welcome East Kilbride and Livingston entertain Orkney, while RHC Cougars are on the road to face unbeaten Dumfries Saints.