Currie Chieftains coach Ben Cairns is relishing a showdown with a team that has traditionally caused him headaches when Heriot’s visit Malleny Park in the BT Premiership tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).
Two sides that have served up a string of close contests go into the match with high expectations, and another tasty clash looks to be in prospect as the regular league programme reaches the halfway stage.
Cairns suffered several narrow losses against tomorrow’s opponents before finally posting a comfortable win over the Goldenacre outfit in the corresponding fixture last season.
“There have been some massive games between the two sides in the last few years and we expect this one to be another tight affair,” he said.
Cairns has made two changes from the side that started in the hard fought win away to Marr last week, with Rhys Davies replacing Scott McGinley at No.8 and David Hall called up at centre to cover the absence of Harvey Elms, who is away with the Scotland 7s squad.
Heriot’s were the latest team to find themselves in the path of the Melrose juggernaut last week but coach Phil Smith still declared himself satisfied with certain aspects of his squad’s performance. He is aware his players face another tough examination tomorrow.
“Currie are performing well, at times, but most importantly getting results. This means, as ever, we are going to have to be at the top of our game as they have shown many different ways to win this season,” said Smith, who welcomes back flanker Iain Wilson after more than a year out through injury. There will also be keen interest in Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe who has yet to play for the professional outfit because of injury, and he starts on the bench for Heriot’s.
Boroughmuir will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Watsonians when Glasgow Hawks provide the opposition at Meggetland. Coach Peter Wright, who knows his side are capable of better than they have shown, has made one change behind the scrum, with Edinburgh Rugby’s Damian Hoyland on the wing, and has bolstered his pack by including Fin Field at lock, allowing him to move Tom Drennan to his more familiar back-row berth.
Wright was frustrated by his men’s reaction after falling behind at Myreside, and has pinpointed that in training. “A really poor last 30 minutes last week cost us dearly. We must learn to play for 80 minutes, something that we have tried to address this week,” he said.
The same message is coming from the Sonians camp ahead of their bid to record back-to-back wins for the first time in the campaign. The destination for Steve Lawrie’s men is Millbrae and a clash with second-placed Ayr, who are notoriously tough to beat at home.
Lawrie has cautioned his players against performing in the way they did during the opening half hour of last Saturday’s game.
“It was pleasing to get the win following a poor start. We again showed that we are able to finish matches well and played some exciting attacking rugby along the way,” stated Lawrie, who has DJ Innes and Michael Allen back after injury. “We know that we cannot afford to start in the same vein this weekend. Ayr have really hit their stride in recent games so we will need to be focused in our efforts from the start of the game until the final whistle.”