Watsonians hope Friday night rugby will lure punters in

Watsonians boss Steve Lawrie hopes to have Myreside swelled by an evening match. Pic: SNS
Watsonians boss Steve Lawrie hopes to have Myreside swelled by an evening match. Pic: SNS
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Watsonians coach Steve Lawrie is confident the lure of Friday night rugby will have the Myreside turnstiles clicking as his side host Edinburgh Accies on Tennent’s Premiership duty (kick-off 7.45pm).

Sonians tested the idea of playing under lights last season and the experiment was deemed a success.

“They were a couple of our best gates. I wouldn’t like all our games to be on Fridays, but it is something a bit different. We are hoping people will finish work and come along,” said Lawrie.

Against opponents still seeking a first win of the campaign, he wants his men to learn lessons from last week’s defeat against Currie Chieftains when he pinpointed poor decision making as a key factor. He insists that no one at Myreside will be lulled into underestimating opponents who currently occupy the basement slot in the league table.

“Accies are a tough, tough side. They have been there or thereabouts so we need to make sure we are on the button,” added Lawrie, who has influential duo Connor Boyle and Rory Hutton unavailable through injury, with James Miller and Paul Cunningham stepping up.

The visitors have been on an upward trajectory over recent weeks and have suffered three successive narrow defeats as coach Derek O’Riordan has sought to broaden his squad. His project continues with the inclusion of Rory Simpson, Martin McGinley, Nick Stephen and Robbie Kent, while he has added bulk to a reshuffled pack.

“Irrespective of our losses there is progress and I believe this progress will continue into Watsonians,” said O’Riordan. “We accept that we will be under pressure in games. This one will be no different, but I believe we are learning our lesson. I believe we are turning the corner, and I believe a big performance is coming.”

The second Capital derby of the weekend takes place at Meggetland tomorrow (3pm) when Boroughmuir welcome Heriot’s. Muir’s challenge for a top-four finish suffered a dent with last week’s loss at Stirling and coach Peter Wright is looking for a reaction.

“We were disappointed in some of the scores we gave away last week and the players know that our concentration levels have to be much better. Players also know that we must cope with Heriots physicality to give ourselves a chance,” said Wright, who welcomes back No.8 Rory Drummond.

For the first time this season, Wright’s counterpart Phil Smith has named an unchanged pack of forwards, while behind the scrum Dom Martin and Dougie Steele are handed starting berths.

Smith was as bemused as anyone who witnessed last Saturday’s draw with Melrose by the match official’s performance – three penalty tries were awarded – but is now focusing on another important encounter.

“It was a strange match last week, with neither team really hitting their straps and both falling foul of some interesting refereeing,” said Smith. “However, the players feel they are now in the middle of a strong run of fixtures which is not allowing them to switch off. This has brought strong training sessions and a real focus to certain areas of our game.”

Meanwhile, Chieftains produced some outstanding rugby in defeating Sonians last Saturday. They will be looking to replicate that performance and extend their unbeaten home record when Melrose provide the opposition at Malleny Park tomorrow (3pm).

Chieftains have Jamie Forbes and Rhys Davies out through injury, with Adam Hall and Glasgow Warriors professional Tevita Tameilau taking over as replacements.

Chieftains coach Ben Cairns was delighted with the showing against Sonians, but knows there can be no resting on laurels.

“The boys have taken a lot of confidence from the way they have played in the last few weeks culminating in what was probably our most complete performance of the season last weekend,” said Cairns. “However, we know we will have to go up another gear this week against one of the strongest sides in the league.”