Friday, 21 December 2012

Stirling County v Ayr preview

After two postponed Cup games, Ayr are getting back to RBS Premiership duty with a tough encounter at Bridgehaugh on Saturday.  They take on Stirling County, who will be feeling confident after a great away win last week over Bedwas in the British and Irish Cup.

"Bridgehaugh has proved a difficult hunting ground for us in recent years," concedes Ayr head coach Kenny Murray, "and we anticipate a hard, physical match.  Our defensive organisation will have to be at its best to close out some of their danger men such as Sean Kennedy, Stevie Swindall and Ben Addison."

Stirling's squad is boosted by the inclusion of Glasgow Warriors' players Alex Dunbar and the very familiar figure of Mark Bennett, a former Ayr favourite.

"Our boys will be very keen to welcome him back to league action!" enthuses Murray.  "To win, though, we need a big performance from our pack and game control from our half-backs.  It should be a real cracker of a game."

Team (subject to change on match day):

Grant Anderson, Richard Dalgleish, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Hayden Wisnewski, Nick Cox; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Colin White, Andrew Dunlop, Calum Forrester (capt.).

Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, D'arcy Rae, Graham Fisken, Murray McConnell, Ross Curle.

Kick-off 3pm.

- Elena Hogarth

Friday, 14 December 2012

GHA v Ayr preview

It's back to business after all the excitement of last night's RBS Club of the Month award presentation at Millbrae.  Ayr head up the road to Glasgow to take on GHA in their second encounter in the RBS West Regional Cup at Braidholm, with the players champing at the bit to get some rugby played after last week's Cup clash with Hillhead/Jordanhill was unfortunately postponed.

Although Ayr beat GHA 33-0 in their last Cup encounter in November at Millbrae, they will take nothing for granted as they square up to their opponents away from home.

There are a few notable changes to the squad.  Nick Cox makes a very welcome return to the starting line-up after fully recovering from an injured hand.  Nick Campbell is away in France on Glasgow Warriors duty as they take on Castres Olympique in the Heineken Cup.  He is replaced by Peter McCallum.  Ross Curle returns from his ban. 

Team (subject to change on match day):

Grant Anderson, Richard Dalgleish, Ross Curle, Dean Kelbrick, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Murray McConnell; Byron Schmidt, Stuart Fenwick, Nick Cox; Scott Sutherland, Peter McCallum; Colin White, Ross Doneghan, Calum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Hayden Wisnewski, Denford Mutamangira, Ben Rankin, Peter Jericevich, Cammy Taylor.

-Elena Hogarth

Friday, 7 December 2012

Hills v Ayr preview

After last week's important victory over Gala, Ayr return to RBS West Regional Cup action and head for the Hills on Saturday.  The Millbrae men will go to Hughenden to take on Hillhead/Jordanhill in a match they won't be taking lightly after a fright against them in their home tie last month.

Ayr head coach Kenny Murray isn't getting ahead of himself after last Saturday's table-topping triumph.

"It was the most important win for Ayr in the past few seasons," he reflects.  "But it only keeps us in the race and we are under no illusion that we have a lot more to do if we are to compete for the title."

Turning his attention to the Cup, Murray states that winning it is a huge goal for the players.

"We will approach the game this week with the same attitude, focus and determination as we do for league games."

There are two changes to the front row as prop Byron Schmidt replaces George Hunter, who is on Glasgow Warriors duty, and Hayden Wisnewski drops to the bench and Stuart Fenwick starts at hooker.

Several of the backs are shuffled around, with Craig Gossman getting his first start of the season at full-back.

Nick Cox makes a welcome return to the squad, taking his place amongst the substitutes, after recovering from injury.

Team (subject to change on match day):

Craig Gossman, Richard Dalgleish, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Cammy Taylor; Finn Russell, Murray McConnell; Byron Schmidt, Stuart Fenwick, Denford Mutamangira; Scott Sutherland, Nick Campbell; Colin White, Graham Fisken, Calum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Nick Cox, Hayden Wisnewski, Andrew Dunlop, Peter Jericevich, Grant Anderson.

Kick-off 2pm.

- Elena Hogarth

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Ayr 19 Gala 14

It was a tense encounter at Millbrae on Saturday afternoon as Ayr took on RBS Premiership leaders Gala to see if they could get back to the top of the table.  The Borderers made the Millbrae men sweat in the freezing conditions, but Ayr showed patience and maturity to secure a vital win and send their faithful fans home happy.

The first quarter was all Gala, as they showed the home side that they were there for a victory.  Ayr's infringments didn't help matters, and the referee blew his whistle numerous times.  Gala never took a shot at goal, preferring the set piece, but this just played into Ayr's hands.  Every time a maroon shirt was within a sniff of the try line, a pink and black one would appear to snuff out the danger, with Ayr's Dean Kelbrick, Grant Anderson, captain Calum Forrester and Denford Mutamangira being the biggest party poopers from Gala's perspective.  The Maroons' head coach George Graham met this frustration with his usual calm and measured response.

Gala pressed on, however, and Ayr were rattled at times, with kicks for touch and line-out throws going awry.  At fifteen minutes, Gala got their first try, after scrum-half George Graham craftily picked up from the back of Ayr's scrum and fed Euan Dods who went over for the score.  Fly-half Lee Millar converted.  0-7.

If Ayr were shell-shocked, they didn't show it.  Four minutes later, they replied with winger Craig Gossman scoring a fine try after a patient, sustained attack.  Fly-half Finn Russell settled his nerves - and everyone else's - with a solid conversion.  7-7.

Once in Gala's half, Ayr intended to stay there and fight.  Terrier-like scrum-half Peter Jericevich is so often the set-up man for Ayr, but he took a try for himself at twenty-two minutes after spotting a gap and nipping over the line.  Russell just nudged the conversion wide.  12-7.

It looked like Gossman would be in for another score, after speedy hooker Hayden Wisnewski released him on the wing, but he was adjudged to have knocked-on before the ball could be grounded.

Gala put Ayr under pressure at the scrum and managed to get out of their own half and back up to Ayr's line.  The home side put in another impressive defensive effort to thwart the visitors' ambitions, with Russell more than making up for his fluffed conversion with two huge tackles that surely saved Ayr's bacon.

Ayr's defence continued to impress at the start of the second half when Jericevich pulled off a stunning try-saving tackle just centimetres from the line.  Things got even more tense, though, at fifty minutes, when Ayr second row Scott Sutherland found himself in the sin-bin for a professional foul. 

Gala took advantage of the extra man, with captain Opeta Palepoi using his great footwork to get his team up the park and replacement prop Craig Borthwick displaying excellent hands.  They didn't reckon with Ayr fan favourite Mutamangira, who put in a powerhouse performance all afternoon both in defence and attack.  He was a perpertual thorn in Gala's side and his every charge was met with roars of approval from the packed stand and touchlines.

The numbers were evened up at fifty-five minutes, when flanker Gary Graham joined Sutherland in the bin.  It was Ayr's turn to make for the line and be frustrated by some good defence.  Young prop George Hunter, replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell, Mutamangira and Wisnewski all nearly burrowed over, but it was a returning Sutherland who grabbed Ayr's third try at sixty-six minutes.  Again, Ayr showed real composure, as did Russell with his successful conversion attempt.  19-7.

Gala's left winger Craig Robertson and inside centre Alan Emond were looking increasingly dangerous with ball in hand in the final quarter, and Ayr seemed to be letting the nerves get to them with some silly mistakes. 

With four minutes to go, Gala made their move, forcing their way over Ayr's line only to be held up by yet another superb display of defence.  But the visitors would not give up, trundling their scrum over the line a minute later.  Dods was again the try scorer.  Millar converted.  19-14.

All of Millbrae held their breath for the final three minutes, but their players would not let their fans down.  A forward pass from Gala proved the last act, with the referee sounding full-time to the delight of the team and supporters.  Ayr now find themselves restored to the top of the RBS Premiership table after a tremendous performance.

- Elena Hogarth

Friday, 30 November 2012

Ayr v Gala preview

It's back to RBS Premiership business for Ayr this weekend, as they welcome Gala to Millbrae.  With just two points separating them at the top of the table, Ayr will be looking for a win to regain their apex position.

Ayr head coach Kenny Murray is looking forward to a highly competitive match.

"Like ourselves, Gala have only lost one league tie so far but that was against us at Netherdale, so they'll be keen for revenge," he says.  "We have been focussing on what we need to do on Saturday and the players are well aware of what they can achieve if they work hard and do the basics well."

Ayr go into the match looking for a sixth successive defence of the Bill McLaren Shield, and a big crowd is expected at Millbrae as local farmers - some of Ayr's most loyal supporters - will be holding a hospitality event.

"Selection has been tough this week," admits Murray.  "Players have been desperate to put their hands up for consideration in the big game."

Dean Kelbrick retains his position at inside centre from last week's Cup clash with Ardrossan, meaning Richard Dalgleish drops to the bench.  George Hunter returns at prop and makes up a lively front row with the always rumbunctious Denford Mutamangira and Hayden Wisnewski.  Young winger Gavin Lowe keeps his place after a virtuoso performance last week, during which he scored 29 points.

Joining Dalgleish amongst the replacements is Murray McConnell, who continues his comeback from injury.  Graham Fisken is also on the bench, but is expected to make an appearance given his consistently good performances of late.

Team (subject to change on match day):

Grant Anderson, Gavin Lowe, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Hayden Wisnewski, George Hunter; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Colin White, Andrew Dunlop, Calum Forrester (capt.).

Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, Byron Schmidt, Graham Fisken, Murray McConnell, Richard Dalgleish.

Please note the kick-off time of 3pm!

- Elena Hogarth

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Ardrossan Accies 11 Ayr 74

Ayr crossed the border into North Ayrshire on Saturday afternoon to take on Ardrossan Accies at Memorial Field in their latest RBS West Regional Cup encounter.  The local derby was closely fought in the opening quarter, but Ayr's place in the RBS Premiership told as Championship League A side Ardrossan struggled to contain the visitors.

Accies set down an early marker, as their excellent scrum succeeded in putting Ayr under pressure, and they managed to hold them off for ten minutes with some solid defence.  However, Ayr were dangerous with ball in hand, especially Peter Jericevich, who was a late replacement for fly-half Finn Russell.

It was scrum-half Sylvain Diez, though, who dived over from a melee at Accies' line for the first try.  Young winger Gavin Lowe missed the conversion.  0-5.

Accies scrum-half Mattie Grant took advantage of his forwards' good work in the scrum and scampered up the park, but he couldn't avoid the attentions of Ayr's hooker Hayden Wisnewski, who put in a strong display in both defence and attack.

Ayr's discipline problems reared their ugly head twice within three minutes, and Accies' fly-half Alan Wilson easily kicked both penalty goals.  6-5.

Ayr got back into the lead at twenty-six minutes thanks to captain Calum Forrester crossing for a try.  Lowe again missed the conversion.  6-10.

A period of messy handling from both sides followed, but Ayr centre Robbie Fergusson managed to keep hold of the greasy ball to blast through Accies' defence and score under the posts.  Lowe's conversion was successful.  6-17.

A minute later, winger Cammy Taylor added another for Ayr, diving over mere seconds after Jericevich nearly burrowed over.  Lowe's kicking was now firmly on course and he got the extras.  6-24.

Lowe continued to impress in the second half, as he got his first try, flying up the wing a matter of seconds after kick-off.  He succeeded with the tricky touchline conversion.  6-31.

Ardrossan didn't seem too shell-shocked and managed to turn Ayr over, but their loose play let them down.  Ayr got the ball back and Jericevich showed a clean pair of heels to score next.  Lowe converted.  6-38.

Again, the home side pressed for the line but couldn't touch down.  Lowe compounded their misery with another try which he converted.  6-45.

Accies wouldn't lie down, however, with some good interplay between outside centre Antony Flint and right winger Calum McKechnie.  Left winger John Young came close to the line before knocking on.  He soon got another chance when he gathered a great cross-kick from fly-half Wilson and crossed for Ardrossan's only try of the day.  Wilson couldn't convert.  11-45.

Ayr's second row Peter McCallum was the next to get on the score sheet, touching down a deft kick from centre Dean Kelbrick.  Lowe missed the conversion.  11-50.

As it got colder, Ayr seemed to move faster, particularly young replacement wing Murray Beckwith.  Returning from a lenghtly spell on the sidelines, replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell charged his way over for another uncoverted try for the visitors.  11-55

Lowe capped his virtuoso performance with a third try, although he couldn't manage the conversion.  11-60. 

There was enough time for two more scores from Ayr, full-back Grant Anderson just managing to touch down before the ball dribbled over the dead ball line, and Fergusson again bursting through.  Lowe converted both, making the final score  11-74. 

- Elena Hogarth

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ardrossan Accies v Ayr preview

Ayr take the road north - by a few miles - to face Ardrossan Accies in an Ayrshire derby and RBS West Regional Cup tie on Saturday at 1pm.  After winning their first silverware of the season last week, when they beat GHA to become the first team to get their name on the Bill McLaren Shield, they will be keen to keep the Cup momentum going.

"It's a tremendous honour for the club," says head coach Kenny Murray of the victory, "and under the rules, the shield now goes on the road with us to be defended home and away, so Ardrossan will have a chance to wrestle it from us."

He continues: "This is a big local derby and Ardrossan will be out to show what they can do, so we will be very focussed on our performance."

There are numerous changes to the team, with Colin White, Richard Dalgleish, David Young, Peter Jericevich, Andrew Dunlop and Denford Mutamangira putting their feet up while others get the opportunity to impress.  Dean Kelbrick returns at inside centre, with youngster Gavin Lowe starting on the right wing and Ross Doneghan taking his place at openside flanker.

Stuart Fenwick, Murray McConnell and George Hunter have recovered from injury and take their places on the bench, but will get game time.  A fine performance last week for the 2nd XV sees Murray Beckwith promoted to the 1st XV replacements. 

Team (subject to change on match day):

Grant Anderson, Gavin Lowe, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Cammy Taylor; Finn Russell, Sylvain Diez; Byron Schmidt, Hayden Wisnewski, D'arcy Rae; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Graham Fisken, Ross Doneghan, Calum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Stuart Fenwick, George Hunter, Peter McCallum, Murray McConnell, Murray Beckwith.

Please note the earlier kick-off of 1pm at Memorial Field, Ardrossan.

- Elena Hogarth

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Ayr 33 GHA 0

Ayr had twice the incentive to beat GHA on Saturday, as they looked to further their RBS West Regional Cup campaign and become the first team to get their name on the Bill McLaren Shield.

Luckily for all concerned, the rain stayed away from Millbrae and the sun even shone as the match kicked off at the earlier time of 12.30pm.  Despite Ayr being two leagues above their opponents, they weren't taking anything for granted and GHA spent much of the first ten minutes containing the current RBS Premiership table-toppers.

The home team had the first opportunity to get points on the board, with Finn Russell easily slotting over a penalty at ten minutes.  3-0.

With the dry weather, the Ayr backs were constantly sniffing out breaks, especially winger Craig Gossman who linked up well with centre Robbie Fergusson and young replacement back Danny McCluskey. 

However, GHA's smother defence, strength at the scrum and ambitious running proved tricky for the men in pink and black.  It wasn't until twenty minutes that Ayr got their first try after a great run from a quick take by Gossman and a slick pass to Fergusson who touched down.  Russell missed the conversion.  8-0.

Former Wales rugby league player and Scotland sevens man Hefin O'Hare put in a great performance for GHA, refusing to be laid low by Ayr's defence, even crawling along the pitch at one point.  He was backed all the way by fly-half Dominic Dunn, who spent most of the game bellowing at his team-mates.  It was to no avail though, as GHA began to feel the two-league gap.  Dunn soon found himself catapulted out of a ruck and a nasty knock saw flanker Paul Harkins substituted, thankfully leaving the field on his feet and not a stretcher as feared.

Ayr scored their second try at thirty-five minutes, after number eight Graham Fisken broke from the back of the scrum and lock Colin White tumbled over.  It wasn't Ayr's day with the boot, and Russell missed again.  13-0.

Five minutes later at the close of the first half, Ayr scored another, Fisken setting it up again and scrum-half Sylvain Diez crossing the line.  Russell hooked the conversion.  18-0.

The second half began at a canter, with GHA's clearance attempts charged down and Gossman pouncing for a try.  Diez took over the kicking duties, but couldn't convert.  23-0.

GHA stuck in there, with prop Stephen Spowart charging on, but almost as soon as Ayr got the ball back, it was into the hands of Gossman and he was off. 

GHA managed some turn-overs and winger Gordon Adams made a great break for the line but was undone by Ayr's efficient defence.  The visitors pulled the Ayr defenders side-to-side but found no way over the line.

It wasn't until sixty-one minutes that Ayr wrestled possession back and flanker and man-of-the-match Peter McCallum scored.  Replacement scrum-half Peter Jericevich missed the conversion.  28-0.

Jericevich was his usually nippy self, making a series of impressive breaks.  However, Ayr's indiscipline let them down and luckily for them, GHA were unable to take advantage. 

Jericevich's speed did pay off eventually, as he flew in for Ayr's final try just before full-time.  He couldn't convert his own score.  The final score was 33-0, and Ayr happily took the victory and the Bill McLaren Shield.

-Elena Hogarth

Friday, 16 November 2012

Ayr v GHA preview

After last week's muddy close encounter with Hillhead/Jordanhill at Millbrae, Ayr will be hoping their next RBS West Regional Cup home match will find them back on solid ground.  They welcome GHA to Alloway on Saturday for a fourth defence of the Bill McLaren Shield and a chance to be the first team to get their name on the wonderful trophy.

Despite the difference in leagues, Ayr head coach Kenny Murray is not underestimating GHA.

"They will be tough and ambitious and aiming to really test themselves and measure their progress, as they have stated publicly," he says.  "It will be an interesting battle in the back lines as our young guys go head-to-head with the likes of former internationalist Andy Henderson and Welsh rugby league convert Hefin O'Hare."

He continues: "With the effects of the weather, it will be a turgid battle up front and this is where the game will be won and lost.  Whilst the Braidholm men will have other ideas, we must look to ourselves for a determined and focussed performance."

There are a few changes to the team this week as Scott Sutherland and Calum Forrester are rested after picking up knocks.  Colin White and Graham Fisken replace them.  Scrum-half Sylvain Diez, hooker David Young and Peter McCallum in the back row are promoted from the bench.  Exciting young prospect Danny McCluskey takes his place among the substitutes.

Team (subject to change on match day):
Grant Anderson, Cammy Taylor, Robbie Fergusson, Richard Dalgleish, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Sylvain Diez; Byron Schmidt, David Young, Denford Mutamangira; Nick Campbell, Colin White; Peter McCallum, Andrew Dunlop, Graham Fisken.

Replacements: Hayden Wisnewski, Stewart Kerr, Shingai Mpofu, Peter Jericevich, Danny McCluskey.

Please note the early kick-off time of 12.30pm.

- Elena Hogarth.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Volunteers and quizzers needed!

Ayr RFC are committed to upgrading all facilities at Millbrae, and as part of this, work on the new swing park will begin next week.  We really need volunteers to donate their time and help us out with this.  A patio area with tables, chairs and patio heaters will be built, as well as the swing park, and a spruce-up of the stand and the outside of the club is planned.  If you can help, please see our Facebook page for details. 

On Friday 30th November at 7.30pm, Ayr RFC Under-18s will be hosting a quiz night at Millbrae to raise funds for their trip to South Africa next year.  Entry is £20 for a table of 4-6, and there will be food, nibbles and raffles.  Tickets are available at the club on Tuesdays at 7pm.  Again, head on over to Facebook for more information.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Ayr 19 Hillhead/Jordanhill 8

Mud is a great leveller, and by the end of yesterday's RBS West Regional Cup encounter at Millbrae, everyone had been brought down to size by the boggy conditions.  Luckily, Ayr managed to lift themselves in time to beat a dogged and steady Hillhead/Jordanhill.

Despite being a league below, Hills were the dominant side for the first quarter.  A huge shower meer minutes before kick-off delayed proceedings and turned the Millbrae pitch into a mire, and it was the visitors who coped better with the weather.  They kept the ball in hand for the most part, but with such appalling conditions to battle, there were bound to be numerous knocks-on.

Ayr attempted to be more adventurous, but nothing came from the likes of full back Grant Anderson and winger Cammy Taylor trying to create attacking opportunities. 

Hills got on the scoreboard first, with Andy Leslie easily slotting a penalty at 16 minutes.  0-3.

There were fumbles galour, and Anderson, usually such a safe pair of hands, got caught out right on Ayr's line.  Former Ayr man Blair Macpherson - one of several former players turning out for Hills - was there to gather it up, only to drop it before he could do any damage.

AJ Macfarlane, another past Ayr favourite, enjoyed causing havoc at his old stomping ground, and was helped along by his flustered former team-mates.  Nearing thirty minutes on the clock, scrum-half Peter Jericevich's kick went out on the full, but the mistake was eventually turned to Ayr's favour as they worked their way down the park to Hills' line.  After many messy attempts, prop Byron Schmidt - on his first XV debut - rumbled over for a try.  Fly-half Finn Russell converted.  7-3.

Jericevich's bad luck continued, with a clearance kick charged down, but the visitors couldn't gather, as the ball continued to slip about like a bar of soap.  Minutes later, however, they shot off up the wing and Ayr's blushes were saved by an excellent tackle from Taylor. 

Every mistake possible was made by both sides, including a pass from Hills that the Millbrae faithful was determined was forward.  But Ayr's hooker Hayden Wisnewski didn't let a little thing like the rain put him off his game, and sniffing out an interception, took off down the wing in a sprint that would have put the Gossman brothers to shame.  He was unfortunately pulled into touch before he could make the try line.

Hills had another shot at a penalty kick before half-time but Leslie couldn't get the three points.

A change of shirt for the second half didn't help Ayr, with Peter McCallum getting yellow carded at forty-three minutes for reasons unknown. 

Jericevich redeemed himself with a try-saving intervention early on, but nobody could stop Leslie as he snatched Hills' only try at forty-nine minutes.  He couldn't convert though.  7-8.

The next fifteen minutes were fruitless, until Ayr got a penalty and took a line-out, managing to get themselves into a decent position.  From the base of a solid scrum, man-of-the-match Graham Fisken plunged over the line for Ayr's second try.  Russell added the extras.  14-8.

Ayr stayed put in Hills' half for the rest of the match, and fought hard to grab another try at 71 minutes, centre Robbie Fergusson charging over, despite the close attentions of Hills replacement Joe Stafford.  Russell couldn't manage the touchline conversion to make the final score 19-8.

- Elena Hogarth

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ayr v Hillhead/Jordanhill preview

Ayr get their Scottish Cup campaign underway this weekend, as they take on Hillhead/Jordanhill in the RBS West Regional Cup at Millbrae.  There will be high hopes for this encounter, in light of Ayr's great Cup history of two wins from three finals.

Head coach Kenny Murray is looking forward to the break from league competition and to welcoming back some familiar faces to Alloway.

"Hillhead/Jordanhill will be desperate to do well," he says.  "Former Ayr players AJ Macfarlane, Blair McPherson, Stuart Howie and Ryan Holland will all feature in their team, so there'll be plenty of banter on the pitch.  However, we have an excellent record in the Scottish Cup, so this is an important match for us and it will have our full attention."

The team continues with its settled look, but there are three notable changes.  Dean Kelbrick returns to the starting line-up, having fully recovered from a long-term injury.  Byron Schmidt gets his first start of the season, having impressed in his performances for the 2nd XV.  D'arcy Rae comes in at tighthead prop in place of George Hunter, who has a sore shoulder.

Team (subject to change on match day):
Grant Anderson, Richard Dalgleish, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Cammy Taylor; Finn Russell, Peter Jericevich; Byron Schmidt, Hayden Wisnewski, D'arcy Rae; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Colin White, Graham Fisken, Calum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Denford Mutamangira, David Young, Andrew Dunlop, Gavin Lowe.

Please note that kick-off is 3pm.

- Elena Hogarth

Friday, 2 November 2012

Dundee v Ayr preview

Ayr go east this weekend to take on Dundee at Mayfield.  It will be another tough away game and one Ayr will be keen to win to keep their position at the top of the RBS Premiership table.

"Dundee are always strong at home, so another week comes along and the competition is as stiff as ever," says head coach Kenny Murray.  "We will need to be at our very best to claim a victory since everyone is trying to knock us off our perch."

After last week's nail-biting win over Boroughmuir, the team's training this week has concentrated on defence.

"We scored some very good tries last week," reflects Murray, "but defence wins you games."

There are no changes to the starting line-up this week, but two on the bench.  Shingai Mpofu returns to the replacements, as does club international centre Dean Kelbrick after a long-term injury that he sustained on the first day of the season.  Sylvain Diez turns out for the 2nd XV this Saturday in order to get game time at scrum-half.

The match kicks off at the earlier time of 2pm.

Team (subject to change on the day):
Grant Anderson, Cammy Taylor, Robbie Fergusson, Richard Dalgleish, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Hayden Wisnewski, George Hunter; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Colin White, Andrew Dunlop, Calum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: David Young, D'arcy Rae, Graham Fisken, Shingai Mpofu, Dean Kelbrick.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Ayr 29 Boroughmuir 23

Ayr had a fight on their hands on Saturday afternoon at Millbrae, as they took on Boroughmuir in a topsy turvy match.

After an early penalty miss by Muir's Ali Warnock, Ayr seemed to be in control, with Grant Anderson grabbing the home side's first try.  Peter Jericevich couldn't convert.  5-0.

Three minutes later, Ayr bagged another score, this time from galloping centre Richard Dalgleish.  Jericevich added the extras.  12-0.

Warnock was successful with his second penalty attempt, getting Muir on the board for the first time at twenty minutes.  12-3.

Anderson got his brace a few minutes later, taking a deft little flick from prop George Hunter.  Jericevich missed the conversion.  17-6.

Boroughmuir struggled to keep a hold of the ball, with Robbie Fergusson and Craig Gossman all too ready to take advantage with a kick-chase. 

Cammy Taylor seemed to cross the line in the second quarter, only for his namesake referee Cammy Rudkin to call him back for a knock-on.  It was Muir, however, who got the final try of the half, with hooker George Turner scoring after a series of stout scrums from the visitors.  Despite a charge down attempt from Jericevich, Warnock got the conversion.  17-13.

The Millbrae faithful were perhaps just a tad nervous when Boroughmuir started the second half with renewed vigour, and matters were not helped by the sin-binning of Ayr's second row Nick Campbell.

Ayr stood firm, with some typical bulldozing charges from prop Denford Mutamangira.  Jericevich had a chance for three points, but hit the post.  The pink and black army didn't have to wait long for something to cheer about, as flanker Andrew Dunlop was bundled over for a try.  Fly-half Finn Russell had a go at converting, but missed.  22-13.

Muir winger Jordan Webster showed a great bit of skill to get his team back within striking distance of Ayr, scoring an excellent try that was converted by Warnock.  22-20

Nails were being bitten to the quick, but Ayr didn't panic and fought hard to regain control.  Replacement back row Graham Fisken went on the charge, demonstrating a series of impressive hand-offs.

There were some worrying moments at the line-out, tidied up by Campbell, and it wasn't until four minutes before time that everyone could breathe easy again.  Gossman danced his way up the wing to seal a win for Ayr.  Russell's conversion bisected the posts.  29-20.

With a minute to go, Boroughmuir were awarded a penalty, kicked by Warnock.  The final score was 29-23.  Man of the match was hooker Hayden Wisnewski.


Victorious debut for Ayr Ladies

Women's rugby has really taken a hold at Ayr, and the senior ladies' team got off to a flying start in their first fully competitive match on Friday night.

The ladies showed no fear as they faced Strathclyde University at Millbrae in front of a large and rowdy crowd.  Meer minutes after kick-off the home side had touched down for their first try, leaving the visitors shell-shocked. 

Playing some excellent running rugby, the women in pink and black soon added another try from Ruthie Barcley-Paterson, but Fiona Potts' conversion unfortunately hit the post. 

Centre Emily Irving was a menace all evening, not only running all over Strathclyde, but bouncing off their tackles.

Gemma Swankie got the next score for Ayr, grabbing a try from the line-out.  This time it was Irving's conversion that hit the post. 

It was a true team effort, as backs and forwards combined to swiftly move play up the park.  Lindsey Smith scored under the posts for Ayr, with Irving's conversion successful.  Ayr led 22-0 at half-time.

Ayr continued to hoover up Strathclyde's mistakes, but the visitors weren't about to give up.  They managed to force their way over the line for a converted try after it seemed Ayr's tenacious defence had held them up. 

Ayr were back on top though, with a terrific show-and-go that led to another score under the posts.  Irving added the extras.

Strathclyde's talented full-back managed to get more points for the visitors with a try, but couldn't convert. 

Barclay-Paterson bagged another try for Ayr, converted again by Irving.  The pacy winger proved equally dangerous in defence, snuffing out Strathclyde's attempts to score another try. 

But it was Irving who stole the show in the dying minutes, with a superb try that saw her run the length of the pitch, much to the delight of the coaches and fans.  The final score was Ayr 41 Strathclyde University 12.


Friday, 26 October 2012

Ayr v Boroughmuir preview

After the nine-try victory over Aberdeen last week, Ayr look to continue their high-scoring ways with another home game this Saturday.  Boroughmuir are welcomed to Millbrae this weekend, and despite their eighth place standing on the RBS Premiership table, head coach Kenny Murray isn't underestimating them.

"Games against Boroughmuir are always tough and they will prove difficult opponents as they look for points," he says.  "At the start of the season, we'd have bitten off your hand if you had offered the top spot [on the table] at half way, but it counts for nothing if we don't keep working hard and improving our standards."

Despite the abundance of tries last week, Murray sees room for improvement.

"We were too loose and not focussed enough in the first twenty minutes of that game.  These are areas we have addressed during the week and we expect an improvement."

There is one change to the starting line-up with Colin White slotting into the back row in place of James Eddie, who returns to Glasgow Warriors.  Graham Fisken takes White's place on the bench.  Dean Kelbrick continues his return from injury, with another outing for the 2nd XV.

Team (subject to change on match day):
Grant Anderson, Cammy Taylor, Robbie Fergusson, Richard Dalgleish, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Hayden Wisnewski, George Hunter; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Colin White, Andrew Dunlop, Calum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: D'arcy Rae, David Young, Ross Doneghan, Graham Fisken, Sylvain Diez.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Ayr 51 Aberdeen 5

Ayr were more than happy to return home to Millbrae to take on Aberdeen on a sunny, mild day in Alloway.  The men in pink and black were looking to get back on track after last week's defeat at the hands of Currie, and after a slow start to the match, showed just why they are atop the RBS Premiership table.

Aberdeen were certainly up for the challenge, and it was their tenacious defence that caused the first quarter of the match to be scoreless.  They were itching to get on in attack too, with full back Steven Aitken ever-ready to shoot off with ball in hand.  But a mixture of poor support play and Ayr's own doughty defence meant the visitors never got anywhere.
If Aberdeen were attempting to be loud and in Ayr's face, the home side showed a quiet determination, with poaching very much on their mind at the start of proceedings.  Flanker Andy Dunlop was always ready to pinch the ball when Aberdeen took their eye off it, and the visitors' line-out was also the victim of theft on more than one occasion.
Fresh from Scotland 7s duty on Australia's Gold Coast, scrum-half Peter Jericevich was a bundle of energy all afternoon, sparking several attacks.  His half-back partner Finn Russell put in a solid tackling display, more than matching the efforts of his forwards.
Glasgow Warriors' flanker James Eddie enjoyed his afternoon in pink and black, making some crucial tackles and charging around the pitch whenever he could.  But it was the backs who got the home side on the board at 27 minutes, with young centre Robbie Fergusson slickly touching down after a good run from the fired-up full back Grant Anderson.  Russell couldn't convert.  5-0.
Three minutes later, Anderson set up another score, this time with a great hand-off and sprint.  His pass found Craig Gossman, who happily nabbed the try.  Russell's conversion sailed wide.  10-0.
Although Ayr's defensive efforts continued to do the trick, with captain Callum Forrester (pictured above) being particularly robust, their discipline let them down, with Dunlop finding himself sent to the bin shortly before half-time.
There was one hairy moment (no, not Stuart Corsar's beard) just before the whistle, when a stray pass from Fergusson almost found the hands of an Aberdeen back, but the player in question knocked-on to save Ayr's blushes.
Ayr began the second half with real purpose, and scored three tries within the first eleven minutes.  The first was from hooker Hayden Wisnewski, who managed to burrow over from a ruck.  Jericevich took over kicking duties, but didn't have much luck, as he missed the conversion.  15-0.
The versatile Frenchman Sylvain Diez, on for a hobbling Fergusson, took the next score in exuberant style, almost cartwheeling over the line after a scintillating break from Gossman.  Jericevich converted.  22-0.
Gossman was on the case again, firing up the wing, and in the time it took to swat away the last of the autumn midges, he had scored Ayr's fifth try.  Anderson again set this score up, with a breath-taking break from his own half.  Jericevich got the extras.  29-0.
The next ten minutes or so were fairly messy, as Aberdeen desperately tried to stop the rot, but it was no use.  Ayr pressed for the line, and after what seemed like an age, Gordon Reid bundled over for Ayr's sixth try.  Jericevich couldn't manage the touchline conversion.  34-0.
Despite the efforts of Aitken and winger Ade Hales, Aberdeen couldn't get anywhere near the Ayr line.  Gossman zipped up the pitch once again and found centre Richard Dalgleish.  Always so solid in defence, the big centre was no doubt delighted to get on the score sheet.  Jericevich converted.  41-0.
Aberdeen weren't done yet, and they caught the home side napping - no wonder after such a frenetic thirty minutes.  Replacement back Sam Knudson appeared out of nowhere to score for the visitors.  It went unconverted, taking the tally to a more respectable 41-5.
Anderson, having created two tries, was determined to get one himself, and four minutes after Aberdeen's score, jinked round a few defenders and flew over the line with such ferocity that he nearly ended up over the advertising boards.  Thankfully, he managed to touch down.  It wasn't Jericevich's day with the boot, as he missed another conversion.  46-5.
Millbrae favourite Reid couldn't come back to Ayr without getting a brace of tries.  While everyone else's eyes were on Jericevich at the base of a ruck on the 22, Reid calmly picked up the ball and snuck up the wing to claim his second score of the day and the last of the afternoon.  A missed conversion saw the final score 51-5.
Man of the match was awarded to Grant Anderson, but all twenty players involved played their part in a great afternoon of rugby.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Ayr v Aberdeen preview

It's back to the home comforts of Millbrae this Saturday, after two away games on the trot, the last against Currie proving Ayr's undoing.  They face Aberdeen in what is expected to be yet another difficult encounter in a highly competitive season.

The coaches and players have gone through a review of last week's defeat, with head coach Kenny Murray concluding that it was a frustrating afternoon but acknowledging the superior play of Currie.  Everyone is now looking ahead.

"We are fully focused on Aberdeen, who will be confident following their first win of the season at the expense of Accies," muses Murray.  "We have a strong team and a strong bench and we intend to get right back on track at Millbrae and extend our lead at the top of the table."

Despite injuries amongst the squad, there is still competition for places.  Notable changes include influential scrum-half Peter Jericevich returning from Scotland 7s duty, and James Eddie who has been released from Glasgow Warriors for the weekend. 

Squad rotation sees hooker Hayden Wisnewski promoted from the bench, where he is replaced by Stuart Fenwick.  George Hunter returns from Heineken Cup duty with Glasgow Warriors, with Scotland under-18s prop D'Arcy Rae dropping back to the replacements.

Team (subject to change on match day):
Grant Anderson, Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Richard Dalgleish, Cammy Taylor; Finn  Russell, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, Hayden Wisnewski, George Hunter; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; James Eddie, Andrew Dunlop, Callum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: David Young, D'Arcy Rae, Colin White, Ross Doneghan, Sylvain Diez.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Ayr Rugby Girls v Strathclyde Uni

Ayr Rugby Girls are preparing for their first fully competitive match on Friday 26th October, and it would be great if as many Ayr fans as possible could get along to Millbrae to support them. 

After training hard in all weathers for the past few months and competing in friendlies, the girls are now ready to face Strathclyde University, kicking off at 7.30pm.  As well as supporting the girls, you'll be supporting our sponsored charity Renal Cancer Research Fund.

The team is still recruiting players of all ages and abilities, so please get in touch on Facebook or call rugby development officer Stuart Fenwick on 07736320624.


Charity fashion show

Ayr RFC is delighted to be hosting a fashion show at Millbrae on Saturday 24th November to raise funds for our sponsored charity Renal Cancer Research. 

The fun-filled night will include a main course dinner, a glass of wine and sweet nibbles.  You can choose between poached breast of chicken with seasonal vegetables or spaghetti carbonara with garlic cream, shaved parmesan and grilled herb bread.  The catwalk performance will then follow.

So far, there are two shops confirmed to showcase their clothes, Unique and Nancy Jean, but we are looking for others, so if you know of anyone, please contact Eilidh at the e-mail address below.

We are also in need of models.  You'll get the chance to have your picture taken, dress up, get your hair and make-up done (male models won't be wearing make-up unless required!) and show off for a good cause.

Things will kick off at 7pm and continue to midnight, with Jen from Westsound keeping everyone entertained.  Tickets are £20 and are being snapped up fast!  Please contact to avoid disappointment.


Friday, 12 October 2012

Currie v Ayr preview

Ayr again travel east to Edinburgh this Saturday, this time to take on Currie at Malleny Park.  Currie are currently lying fourth in the RBS Scottish Premiership table and, after a high-scoring away win over Stirling County, will be full of confidence.  But, still atop the table and unbeaten this season, Ayr will be looking for an eighth victory on the trot.

There are a number of changes from last week's team, most noticably the return of Finn Russell after several weeks out injured.  Byron Schmidt makes his debut from the bench.

Team (subject to change on match day):

Grant Anderson, Cammy Taylor, Ross Curle, Richard Dalgleish, Craig Gossman; Finn Russell, Sylvain Diez; Denford Mutamangira, Stuart Fenwick, D'arcy Rae; Nick Campbell, Scott Sutherland; Ross Doneghan, Andrew Dunlop, Callum Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Hayden Wisnewski, Byron Schmidt, Colin White, Graham Fisken, Robbie Fergusson.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Edinburgh Accies 18 Ayr 20

Ayr eeked past Edinburgh Accies for their seventh consecutive victory of the season.  On a sunny day at Raeburn Place, the visitors ran in three tries to keep their unblemished record going in this year's RBS Premiership.

Proceedings did not immediately go Ayr's way, as Accies set their stall out early, with a break from number eight Callum Reid.  But some clever play from Ayr's hooker Hayden Wisnewski and a huge tackle from second row Scott Sutherland turned things around.  Within five minutes, Ayr had their first score with stand-off Ross Curle flying in for a try.  Scrum-half Sylvain Diez knocked over the conversion.  0-7.

Diez had another shot at goal four minutes later, as he attempted to slot a penalty but hit the post.  Accies were undaunted by Ayr's pressure and worked hard for a turn-over, but it came to nothing.  Centre Robbie Fergusson proved why he's one of the most exciting young prospects in the country with some marvellously jinky running. 

However, it was winger Gavin Lowe, recently called up the Scotland under-18s squad, who got Ayr's second try (pictured above).  Aged just seventeen and gaining his first start of the season, Lowe had a superb game.  Diez's conversion was just short, leaving the score at 0-12.

Accies pressed on, with some impressive running from winger Sam Pecqueur.  They couldn't find their way to the try line, but they had their first chance for points at thirteen minutes when stand-off Ruairidh Bonner kicked a penalty.  3-12.

He might be one of the smallest players in the squad, but winger Craig Gossman has shown himself to be as effective in defence as attack, and he brilliantly brought down Accies full-back Ruairidh Young as he tried to break out of his own half.  Ayr's defence held up well in a pressure-filled period at the mid-point of the first half.

The two sides tusselled and matched each other for much of the half, and Ayr's next opportunity for points only came at thirty-two minutes when Fergusson crossed for a well-deserved try, following a break from flanker Graham Fisken.  Diez missed the conversion.  3-17.

Just before half-time, Bonner had another shot at goal but missed.  Although Ayr seemed to be leading comfortably, Accies were not done yet. 

The second half saw the home side raise their game and Ayr supporters' blood pressure.  Their mobile prop Alex Allan caused all sorts of problems, as did flanker Dan Teague.  Their defence managed to contain Gossman, who was itching to break away every time the ball came to him.

It was Ayr's indiscipline that let them down, with Curle committing a sufficiently serious high tackle on winger Josh Pecqueur at fifty-three minutes near the line to warrant a penalty try.  Bonner easily converted to make it 10-17.

Ayr were impressive at the line-out with a few good steals, but they couldn't take advantage.  Diez, however, pushed the score on with a penalty at fifty-six minutes to give Ayr a bit more breathing space.  10-20. 

Two minutes later, however, Accies scored a try, Josh Pecqueur touching down.  Bonner missed the conversion.  15-20.  They weren't so much creeping back into the game as charging their way into it.  Bonner had another chance at a penalty goal five minutes after the try and was successful.  18-20.

It was an extremely tense final quarter with Ayr desperate for a bonus point-securing fourth try and Accies looking for a home victory.  Back row replacement Ross Doneghan and Sutherland both looked to be heading for the score sheet but the referee called them back on separate occasions. 

Gossman then seemed to be over for a try but was ajudged to be in touch.  It was only some solid Ayr defence that prevented Accies from snatching a win in the dying seconds of the game.  There was relief among the travelling pink and black army when the final whistle was blown.  Seven matches and seven victories;  it's back to the east coast next Saturday for an encounter with Currie to see if the Millbrae men can make it eight from eight.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Edinburgh Accies v Ayr preview

Ayr hit the road this week to take on Edinburgh Accies at the historic Raeburn Place for a chance to lift the Bill McLaren Shield.  After last Saturday's narrow win over Heriot's, Ayr will be looking for an improved performance but know that Accies will be full of confidence in the wake of their high-scoring victory against Dundee.

Ayr's head coach Kenny Murray knows the opposition will be no pushover.

"They have proved difficult to beat at home, and we expect another quick game," he said, "but we go into this  with the best defensive record in the league and will be looking to maintain it."

Murray acknowledges that last week's performance wasn't Ayr's best. 

"We were disappointed with how we played.  Heriot's made us work for everything and we did well to hold on.  Although we scored three well worked tries, we squandered several opportunities of getting a bonus point.  We also let ourselves down in terms of discipline."

There are several changes to the team this week.  Winger Kerr Gossman broke his arm and dislocated his wrist during the Heriot's match.  He has had surgery and won't play until December.  He is replaced by Gavin Lowe, who was called up to the Scotland under-18s squad this week, with Cammy Taylor taking his place on the bench.

Scrum-half Peter Jericevich is on Scotland Sevens duty and is replaced by Sylvain Diez.  Nick Campbell, a Glasgow Warriors Elite Development player, returns to the bench after injury, and D'Arcy Rae takes over as substitute prop from Denford Mutamangira.

Team (subject to change on match day):
Anderson, C Gossman, Fergusson, Dalgleish, Lowe; Curle, Diez; Cox, Wisnewski, Hunter; White, Sutherland; Fisken, Dunlop, Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Rae, Fenwick, Doneghan, Campbell, Taylor.

Score updates will be available on


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lowe called up to U18s training camp

Ayr's latest teenage star Gavin Lowe is one of thirty young Scots named in the under-18s training camp.  Taking place this month at Murrayfield, the camp will prepare the squad for next year's international encounters with England and Ireland, and the European Championships. 

Gavin made his senior debut for Ayr against Stirling County last month, and followed up that impressive performance with another promising showing against Heriot's last week.

Ayr's Ewan Bulger was unavailable for selection.

Read the full story here.


Sunday, 30 September 2012

Ayr 17 Heriot's 13

It was legendary tennis coach Brad Gilbert who coined the phrase 'winning ugly' and that's exactly what Ayr did at Millbrae yesterday.  It wasn't pretty, but the men in pink and black defeated the determined Heriot's to maintain their unblemished record in the RBS Premiership.

Hopes were high after a good away win against Melrose last weekend, and Ayr's backs were off at a canter.  Outside centre Robbie Fergusson, fly-half Ross Curle and the Gossman brothers on the wings were eager to run with ball in hand, as was prop-on-the-charge Nick Cox. 

If Heriot's were nervous about going up against the only unbeaten team in the competition, they didn't show it.  Scrum-half Sam Hidalgo Cline proved himself a nuisance early on with some slick passing, and full-back Mike Penn did more than threaten to break the Ayr defence on several occasions.

But it was the home side who drew blood first, hooker Hayden Wisnewski bowling over the line at 11 minutes after a trademark bulldozing run from Cox.  Peter Jericevich couldn't manage the conversion.  5-0.

Heriot's pressed on, and it was only a sledgehammer of a tackle from Craig Gossman on a Heriot's forward twice his size that messed up the visitors' attacking plan of action.  At 15 minutes, Heriot's found themselves down to fourteen men, after lock Russell Nimmo was sent to the sin bin.

Ayr took advantage, with Fergusson and Curle engaging in some fancy footwork, but it was second row Scott Sutherland who found his way over the line to make himself Ayr's top try-scorer of the season so far.  Jericevich didn't have a good day with the boot, missing the conversion.  10-0.

Heriot's, back to their full team, put Ayr under pressure at the scrum, but each team held steady at the line-out.  The visitors struggled with their handling, garnering countless knocks-on throughout the match, and Curle always seemed to be there to chase a loose ball.  He, Kerr Gossman and Grant Anderson combined well but couldn't get another score before half-time.

Pre-match, Ayr head coach Kenny Murray had noted that discipline must be improved, but the home side gave away several penalties.  Heriot's fly-half Graham Wilson missed with his first attempt at 28 minutes, but was successful four minutes later.  10-3.  Just before half-time, he got another chance and took it.  10-6 at the break.

It wasn't long after the whistle blew for the second half that Ayr got their third try, Curle flying over the line after a scintillating break from Craig Gossman.  Jericevich converted to make the score 17-6.

That seemed to spur the home side into action, with Jericevich, Curle, Anderson and Craig Gossman combining to quickly move things up the park, only for referee Kevin White to call them back for a forward pass.

Not content with his brother hogging the limelight, Kerr Gossman shot off up the left wing from his own half, only to be brought down five metres from the try line.  It was a ferocious tackle, and Gossman sadly left the field with a broken arm.  Teenager Gavin Lowe replaced him.

His wasn't the only injury, with one of the touch judges pulling a muscle.  An experienced volunteer was located and the match continued.

Ayr's disciplinary woes continued with two yellow cards, firstly lock Colin White for not rolling away, and then fan favourite Denford Mutamangira for reasons unknown.

Heriot's saw their chance and took it, second row Struan Cessford grabbing the try.  Wilson was successful with the conversion, despite a charge from Jericevich.  17-13.

It was a tense affair for the remaining twenty minutes, but Ayr's defence held up with only thirteen men on the pitch.  Replacement hooker Stuart Fenwick did some good scavenging work and managed to charge down a Heriot's kick.  Also, Zimbabwean internationalist Shingai Mpofu made his 1st XV debut and was quickly into the thick of the action.

Five minutes before full time, Jericevich had a kick at goal but was unsuccessful.  It was a relieved Ayr that celebrated when the whistle was blown.  It wasn't attractive, but they now have six wins from six matches.

Man of the match was Scott Sutherland.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Jericevich named in 7s squad

Ayr's scrum-half Peter Jericevich has been named in Scotland's sevens squad for the 2012/2013 HSBC Sevens World Series opener in Australia's Gold Coast.  Jericevich has already won six caps for Scotland sevens, and is the only club player selected.

You can read the full story here and David Ferguson's article on Phil Greening's first squad as sevens coach in the Scotsman.


Ayr v Heriot's preview

Ayr welcome Heriot's to Millbrae tomorrow, as they look to continue their unbeaten run in the RBS Premiership.  Despite the five wins on the trot, including last weekend's victory over Melrose at the Greenyards, Ayr aren't taking anything for granted.

"It was a huge achievement for the squad," head coach Kenny Murray says of the victory.  "The boys put in a huge shift to maintain their winning record.  But we realise that Heriot's are capable of beating the best on the road."

Murray expects a very fast and expansive game.  "Our defence will have to match the ambition and pace of the Heriot's attack."

Commenting on the number of yellow cards in recent matches, Murray knows everyone has to be on their best behaviour: "We must ensure that discipline is our top priority."

There are two changes to the starting team.  George Hunter moves up from the bench, with Denford Mutamangira dropping to the replacements.  Ross Curle comes in at fly-half in place of Ruaridh Jackson, who returns to Glasgow Warriors.

Zimbabwean internationalist Shingai Mpofu, who is at Millbrae as part of the South African Rugby Union exchange programme, will make his debut from the bench.

Teenager Gavin Lowe once again appears amongst the replacements, following his impressive debut against Stirling County a fortnight ago.

Team (subject to change on match day):

Anderson, C Gossman, Fergusson, Dalgleish, K Gossman; Curle, Jericevich; Cox, Wisnewski, Hunter; White, Sutherland; Fisken, Dunlop, Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Mutamangira, Mpofu, Fenwick, Doneghan, Lowe.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

D'arcy Rae named in U20s squad

Ayr's teenage prop D'arcy Rae has been named in the first Scotland Under-20s squad of new coach Sean Lineen's tenure.  D'arcy follows in the footsteps of Ayr team-mates Murray McConnell and Robbie Fergusson, who have both represented their country at under-20 level.

D'arcy will link up with the thirty-nine other talented young Scots for a three-day camp next month. Read the full story here.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ayr Ladies and Mini Tournament

Rugby for all continues to grow at Millbrae, as Ayr Ladies played their first friendly match on Monday night.  They took on Stewartry Sirens and ran them close in a highly competitive match.  Despite the great team effort, Ayr were beaten 28-33 by their vastly experienced opponents.

It bodes well for the Ladies' first official match at Millbrae on Friday 26th October against Strathclyde University (kick-off 7:30pm).  It would be great to see a big turn-out for this encounter.  There will be more details nearer the time.

Ladies' training takes place on Mondays, 7pm, at Millbrae.  Please come along if interested.

If you can't get enough rugby, there is the annual Ayr Mini Tournament this Sunday.  From 11am to 3:30pm, visiting teams including West of Scotland, GHA, GHK, Marr, Stewartry and East Kilbride will take part.  Fundraising will also take place for the P7 tour in April 2013.  All welcome.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Ayr v Melrose preview

Ayr head to the legendary Greenyards tomorrow to take on Melrose in the toughest test of the season so far.  With four wins from four matches under their belt, the men in pink and black look to continue their excellent form. 

They will get an extra lift in the shape of Scotland international Ruaridh Jackson, who will have a very busy weekend, after coming off the bench at Scotstoun on Friday night for Glasgow Warriors' victory over Connacht.

Head coach Kenny Murray is excited at the prospect of the 35-cap player turning out for Ayr.

"To get an internationalist of Jacko's ability is a fantastic boost for our squad ahead of such a key game."

Jackson slots in at fly-half in place of the injured Sylvain Diez.  Also not considered for the clash due to injury are Dean Kelbrick, Finn Russell, Murray McConnell and Nick Campbell.

Other selection changes include Zimbabwean international prop Denford Mutamangira gaining promotion from the bench to the starting line-up after a barn-storming second half last Saturday against Stirling County, and elite development player George Hunter.  Hunter was on the bench for Glasgow Warriors last week and returns as a replacement for Ayr.  Ross Curle returns after suspension.

"The squad realise that a win this week away from home would send out a big message to our competitors," says Murray.  "Although we have competed well at home and in the cup finals, we have always been outplayed at the Greenyards.  This is something we are keen to redress."

Murray is all too aware of Melrose's fast, expansive style of rugby. 

"Our defence will have to be at its absolute best in order to stop key players such as Fraser Thomson, Andrew Skeen and John Dalziel."

Team (subject to change on match day):
Anderson, C Gossman, Fergusson, Dalgleish, K Gossman; Jackson, Jericevich; Mutamangira, Wisnewski, Cox; White, Sutherland; Fisken, Dunlop, Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Hunter, Fenwick, McCallum, Doneghan, Curle.


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Ayr 39 Stirling County 17

Man-of-the-match Nick Cox (right) with Ross Curle

It was a tense first half at Millbrae, as Ayr tusselled with Stirling County to maintain their unbeaten record in this season's Premiership. It wasn't simply sporting hyperbole when Ayr's head coach Kenny Murray said taking on County would be a "massive challenge".  Stirling meant business, but Ayr would not be denied.

The visitors opened the scoring at two minutes, with a penalty kick from centre Brian Archibald.  Two minutes later, Ayr got a chance to reply, but scrum-half Peter Jericevich couldn't slot the ball between the posts.  0-3.

That didn't dampen the spirits of the packed stand and touchline or the home side, as captain Calum Forrester led from the front, crawling along the Millbrae turf at one point when Stirling's determined defence brought him to his knees. 

It was Forrester who got Ayr on the score board at seven minutes, sneeking in from the base of a scrum to score his third try of the season.  Jericevich missed the tricky touchline conversion to keep the scores at 5-3.

The next fifteen minutes saw both teams make forays into the other's half, with Ayr matching Stirling's speedy backline.  However, County aren't just flashy backs and their forwards posed many questions.  Ayr answered well at the set pieces, the line-out in particular. 

The home forwards and backs combined on more than one occasion to make for the line, with the ball flying through the hands of fly-half Sylvain Diez, hooker Hayden Wisnewski, second rows Scott Sutherland and Colin White and number eight Forrester, but to no avail. 

Ayr, though, managed to extend their lead to 8-3 after Jericevich kicked a difficult penalty that hit the post but still went over.  Three minutes later, centre Robbie Fergusson displayed some great running to get Ayr's second try.  Jericevich missed the conversion.  13-3.

County were hot on Ayr's heels, however, with prop Garry Mountford bowling over for the visitors' first try.  Archibald converted, his unusual golfing-esque technique standing up to the attempted charge-down from Jericevich.  13-10.

Stirling were bouyed and their backs were sniffing out interceptions.  After one near-miss, winger Matt Lamb was on to a flat pass and hared off for the line.  Archibald added the extras.  13-17.  Just before half-time, the centre had another chance to get more points for County, but missed the penalty.

It wasn't looking good for the home side as the second half began, with Sutherland getting a ticking-off from referee Lloyd Linton.  Archibald again had a shot at goal but missed.  Stirling pressed on, but Ayr bolstered their defence and managed to get a crucial turn-over on their own line.

County continued to show creativity in attack, with full-back Jonnie Hope chipping and chasing only for his pass to find no-one.  Things went downhill for them, as second row Craig Deacons was sin-binned at nine minutes for cynical play.

Ayr took their chances, with Nick Cox tearing around the pitch like the proverbial bull in a china shop.  Centre Richard Dalgleish was fearless in tackling as Stirling tried to force their way back into a game that was now slipping away from them. 

Their frustration was more than evident when the ball was churlishly thrown off the pitch as Ayr were about to take a line-out.  Eventually succeeding at the delayed set piece, after Stirling got a slap on the wrists from the officials, Ayr put in a huge effort to drive Cox over the line for try number three.  Jericevich converted to help Ayr take the lead, 20-17 at fifty-seven minutes.

Ayr's backs took every opportunity to show off their skills, with winger Craig Gossman taking a great high ball, motoring off up the touch line and kicking ahead, only to be taken - the crowd thought - too late.  Fergusson and Dalgleish's centre partnership continues to grow, as their stylish play unleased full-back Grant Anderson.  He couldn't make it to the line, as Stirling's defence stayed strong.

The home crowd didn't have long to wait for another score, as Cox got his second and Ayr's fourth try of the match, the jovial prop diving over the line.  Jericevich's missed conversion took the scores to 25-17 with twenty minutes to go.

With a four-try bonus point under their belt, Ayr could have settled into protecting their lead for the remainder of the match, but took the line of attack being the best form of defence.  Anderson and Craig Gossman linked up but found no way through.  Kerr Gossman's mazy running made some inroads but County were holding their ground.

Jericevich, socks ever at his ankles, swiped the ball from the back of an Ayr scrum in Stirling's half, before racing off, kicking ahead and forcing the visitors into touch.  The resulting line-out led to flanker Graham Fisken charging for the line and getting the fifth try of the afternoon for the men in pink and black. 

Jericevich's conversion attempt was delayed as County's flanker Adam de St Croix was helped from the field by both sets of medical teams with a very painful-looking arm injury, an indication of Stirling's never-say-die attitude. 

Jericevich slotted the kick to make it 32-17.  Changes were made as fan favourite Denford Mutamangira took his place in the front row, and seventeen-year-old centre Gavin Lowe made his senior debut.

Stirling tried to come back, with a good run from Lamb, but they got themselves in a fankle and knocked on.  With the minutes ticking down, Craig Gossman did what he had been threatening to do all afternoon and ran in a superb try from his own half.  Jericevich's conversion made the score 39-17.

Stirling's misery was compounded by a final minute yellow card for full-back Hope.  But it was celebrations all round for Ayr as the whistle was blown for full-time.  Four matches played, four matches won.

Man-of-the-match was Nick Cox for his two tries and all-round herculian efforts.


Friday, 14 September 2012

Ayr v Stirling preview

After three wins in a row and topping the RBS Premiership table, Ayr host Stirling County at Millbrae to see if they can make it a fourth victory of the season.  It was a tight match at Netherdale against Gala last Saturday, and the team will be hoping to show an equally gritty performance and give the Millbrae faithful something to cheer about.

There is one change to the starting line-up, with prop D'arcy Rae, who represented Scotland at under-18s level last year, replacing George Hunter, who links up with Glasgow Warriors this week.  Zimbabwean international prop and fan favourite Denford Mutamangira returns to the bench.

17-year-old centre Gavin Lowe makes his senior debut on the bench, after having trained with the first XV for several months.  Gavin has played for Scotland under-18s and is one of the most exciting prospects in Scottish rugby.

Despite Ayr's great start to the new rugby year, head coach Kenny Murray isn't getting ahead of himself.

"We are obviously eager to maintain our winning record and stay ahead of the chasing pack.  As it's still early in the season, we realise that one loss could see us fall into a mid-table position."

Murray expects a tough match against Stirling: "They have a very effective back line that has been helped by Glasgow pros in the past few weeks.  It will be crucial that we dominate the forward battle and limit the ball that these guys will crave."

Team (subject to change on match day):

Anderson, C Gossman, Fergusson, Dalgleish, K Gossman; Diez, Jericevich; Cox, Wisnewski, Rae; Sutherland, White; Fisken, Dunlop, Forrester (capt).

Replacements: Mutamangira, Fenwick, McCallum, Doneghan, Lowe.


Friday, 7 September 2012

Ayr v Gala preview

After Ayr's galloping win over Dundee at Millbrae last Saturday, the men in pink and black hit the road once again and head for the Borders to take on Gala.  Both sides have had a good start to the season and it will be a closely contested fixture to see who can carry on their fine form.

There are two changes to the starting line-up, with Graham Fisken and Hayden Wisnewski replacing Ross Doneghan and Stuart Fenwick respectively.  Doneghan joins teenagers Peter McCallum and D'arcy Rae on the bench.  The latter two replace the injured Nick Campbell and Denford Mutamangira, who turns out for the second XV this weekend.

Head coach Kenny Murray was encouraged by last week's win.  "We were pleased with the pace and intensity that we created throughout the game.  Although we were missing Ross Curle, Finn Russell and Dean Kelbrick from our midfield, I felt we showed some excellent movement and defended particularly well."

He continued: "Our set piece improved from our game against Boroughmuir but we recognise that Gala pose different challenges.  In particular, we will have to be alert at the line-out, where Gala like to attack through the middle, and have already caused problems for teams this season."

Murray expects an open yet physical game at Netherdale.  Ayr, however, are well prepared after training on Tuesday night with Glasgow Warriors at their new Scotstoun stadium.

Team (subject to change on match day):

Anderson; C Gossman, Fergusson, Dalgleish, K Gossman; Diez, Jericevich; Cox, Wisnewski, Hunter; White, Sutherland; Fisken, Dunlop, Forrester (capt). 

Replacements: Rae, McCallum, Doneghan, Young, Taylor.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Ayr 28 Dundee HSFP 10

Ayr followed their fantastic opening win of the season last week with a terrific home victory yesterday over Dundee HSFP.

Running out at Millbrae for the first time in four months, Ayr had the weight of expectation on their shoulders due to last Saturday's resounding defeat of Boroughmuir.  The fans expected and the players delivered. 

With ladies' day already in full swing, there was a great atmosphere, but the merriment was respectfully put on hold as all assembled remembered Jim McDonald, who recently passed away.  An Ayr stalwart, Jim was a fitness adviser at the club in the days when such a thing in rugby was rare.  A minute's silence allowed reflection on his life and contribution to Ayr RFC.

Ayr began their opening home game of the season with gusto, stealing Dundee's line-out at the first go.  The players were clearly keyed up for a physical encounter, with commitment on show from the off.  Unfortunately, within the first eight minutes, flanker Ross Doneghan's heroic tackling efforts led to a nasty-looking knock and he had to be replaced by Graham Fisken. 

Two of Ayr's new arrivals, Craig and Kerr Gossman, showed their merit in last week's season opener, and that good form continued for the brothers at Millbrae.  Kerr was the first to display his fast pace and fancy footwork, but it was Craig who got on the scoreboard, scoring a try at ten minutes.  Scrum-half Peter Jericevich set it up beautifully with a break and kick-and-chase.  He added the conversion, making the score 7-0.

Three minutes later, Dundee had their chance to get on the board with a penalty, but dodgy contact with the ball meant stand-off Jack Steele sent it under the crossbar.  A missed kick to touch from Dundee didn't help matters either, as Ayr used the mistake to their advantage, launching a sustained onslaught in the opposition 22 that only ended when Dundee knocked the ball from Andy Dunlop's hand.

The home fans didn't have to wait too long for another try.  At twenty-two minutes, inside centre Richard Dalgleish took a sharp pass from his midfield partner Robbie Fergusson to cross the line.  Jericevich was again successful with the conversion.  14-0.

The crowd was getting plenty to shout about with more breaks from Kerr Gossman and tenacious tackling from stand-off Sylvain Diez (what's an eighteen-stone Dundonian prop when you've been bashed about by bulls in Pamplona?).  The fans were particularly vociferous when Dundee hooker Darrel Russell threw a line-out ball at his own prop's head and it was deemed straight by the referee.

Fergusson let his creativity show, with a clever kick-and-chase that pushed Ayr into Dundee's half.  Full-back Grant Anderson wasn't about to let the youngster steal the limelight, and shot off, only for his pass to Craig Gossman to be adjudged forward and the try disallowed.

Dundee had had enough of Ayr running all over them, and with ten minutes of the first half to go, got on the scoreboard thanks to a wonderful running try from winger Andrew MacLean.  Steele converted to bring the scores to 14-7.  He added a penalty just before half-time to make 14-10.

Ayr's comfortable lead had disappeared quickly, but spirited defence and attack in the second half meant Dundee didn't get any more points on the board.

The start of the final forty minutes was messy, with mistakes from both sides, and a scuffle breaking out -  Dundee's Taylor Paris (one of Glasgow's new signings) keen to engage Dunlop in some kind of waltz or tango. 

Craig Gossman, Diez and the ever-popular Nick Cox combined to force their way up the park, with Anderson and Fergusson again in the thick of it.  Fergusson looked to be through for a try, but the referee ruled crossing had taken place.

Thirteen minutes in and Ayr got their first penalty shot at goal, but Jericevich hooked it.  Anderson's stunning running and terrific passes from Jericevich and Diez brought another try, Anderson finally getting on the score sheet.  Jericevich converted.  21-10.  But Anderson's try came at a cost, with the full-back being substituted by Cammy Taylor because of a sore shoulder.

There was some good work at the line-out from Ayr, with another Dundee ball stolen.  Captain Calum Forrester proved himself a versatile number eight, with a deft chip ahead that eventually led to Ayr driving for the line, only to be held up just short.  A few minutes later, Dalgleish got his second try of the game, fighting his way over.  Jericevich added the extras.  28-10.

The final quarter saw Dundee desperately trying to get some more points, but Ayr's stolid defence wouldn't let them.  A few more attacking runs from the home side came to nothing, but there were happy faces all round when the referee blew the whistle for full-time.

Man-of-the-match was awarded to Sylvain Diez for some remarkable work in both defence and attack.

- Elena Hogarth

Friday, 31 August 2012

Ayr v Dundee preview

Ayr's first home game of the new season sees them take on Dundee HSFP at Millbrae on Saturday at 3pm.  Following their excellent opening win of the season against Boroughmuir last weekend, Ayr hope to give their loyal supporters something to get their teeth into.

The victory over Boroughmuir proved to be a rather bruising encounter for several of the players, with Dean Kelbrick and Finn Russell picking up injuries and missing this week's encounter.  They are replaced by Richard Dalgleish and Sylvain Diez respectively.  Ross Curle also misses out due to his red card.

There are changes in the forwards, with Colin White returning to action following his recovery from a virus.  On the bench, Denford Mutamangira is back from international duty with Zimbabwe, and Nick Campbell has been released by Glasgow Warriors for the game.

Ayr head coach Kenny Murray has predicted a tough match against Dundee.

"Our games against Dundee are always physical encounters, and I don't expect this game to be any less so," he mused.  "They have a very strong pack and are always very ambitious behind the scrum."

"This is our first home game," Murray continued, "and if we can play some of the rugby we played last week, we will give the fans something to cheer about."

Team (subject to change on match day):

Anderson; C Gossman, Fergusson, Dalgleish, K Gossman; Diez, Jericevich; Cox, Fenwick, Hunter; Sutherland, White; Doneghan, Dunlop, Forrester (capt). 

Replacements: Mutamangira, Wisnewski, Fisken, Campbell, Taylor.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Gossman brothers in The Herald

Two of Ayr's new signings, Craig and Kerr Gossman, talk to the Herald's Neil Drysdale in today's online and print editions about this weekend's game with Dundee and the rest of the season.

You can read the full article here.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Big crowd turns out for Glasgow v Exeter

Last night's drizzly conditions didn't stop a huge number of rugby fans flocking to Millbrae to watch Glasgow Warriors take on Exeter Chiefs in a pre-season friendly.  Everyone at Ayr RFC was delighted to host the Warriors' last warm-up match before they kick-off their RaboDirect Pro12 campaign, and to welcome the Chiefs all the way from south-west England.

Before kick-off, there was a touching minute's silence in memory of Scotland under-20 player Mitchell Todd, who tragically passed away last week.

It was a low-scoring first half, largely thanks to Glasgow's defensive efforts, as Exeter made for the line on several occasions.  Penalties were also missed by the Chiefs' stand-off Ignacio Mieres.  The Warriors managed to pull ahead just before half-time, with a successful penalty kick from Duncan Weir.

Mieres again missed penalties at the start of the second half, but his second failed attempt led to Exeter's first try, as it hit the post and was neatly gathered.  Hooker Chris Whitehead claimed the score, with Mieres converting.

Weir nosed Glasgow ahead with another penalty, only to miss two more several minutes later.  Despite the presence of some of the Warriors' capped players like Weir, Moray Low, John Barclay and Graeme Morrison, they couldn't get any more points on the board. 

Perhaps spurred on by their very own chief - resplendent in feathered head-dress and beating a tribal drum (who knew Native Americans were so prevalent in Devon?) - Exeter scored another try, this time by replacement James Hanks.  Gareth Steenson converted.  A last minute penalty from Steenson brought the final score to Glasgow Warriors 6 Exeter Chiefs 15.

It wasn't the game or result Glasgow were hoping for, but the players kindly stayed on the pitch after the final whistle to sign autographs and have photos taken with the fans.

It's always an exciting prospect to host Glasgow Warriors at Millbrae, and we wish them and Exeter Chiefs all the best for the new season.


Kenny Murray in today's Herald

Ayr head coach Kenny Murray talks to the Herald's Neil Drysdale in today's edition about the new season and taking it one game at a time.

The article is currently unavailable online, but a link will be posted here when it does become available.  You can, of course, find the piece under the headline Countdown to the RBS Premiership kick-off: the challenge from the west in the Herald's print version of the sports section.


Monday, 6 August 2012

Ayr to play Glasgow Warriors

On Tuesday 4th September Ayr will play Warriors in a training game at Scotstoun. For the last three seasons the professional side has visited Millbrae as part of their preparation and the close relationship between the clubs continues with this visit to Glasgow's west end and the home of the Warriors. Full details of kick-off time will follow.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Millbrae welcomes Glasgow and Exeter

Glasgow Warriors have announced that Millbrae will host a pre-season friendly against Exeter Chiefs.  The Warriors will take on the English Premiership side on Thursday 23rd August, kicking off at 7:30pm. 

Ayr RFC has close links with the RaboDirect PRO12 side, with several Warriors players having previously turned out for the men in pink and black. 

Club president Billy McHarg said: "It's an absolute honour to be hosting this game and we're delighted to be working with Glasgow Warriors to put this fixture on."

You can read the full story here.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Bastille Bonanza

Ayr RFC is delighted to host Ayr Town Twinning Association's Bastille Bonanza on Saturday 14th July from 1pm to 5pm.

To celebrate France's national day, ATTA are putting on a day of fun at Millbrae, including various craft stalls, indoor and outdoor activities for both adults and children such as Owl Magic, Creation Station and face painting, Zumba, Spirals and Bokwa demonstrations, live music, a quiz, a blind wine tasting, pétanque, afternoon teas with Café Français pastries and a tombola with a special prize donated by the French Consul.

For more information please contact Denise at

Monday, 25 June 2012

Turnberry Beach Rugby

If your rugby withdrawal symptoms just refuse to abate and you can't wait for the new season to kick off in August, then fear not, because two of Ayr's 1st XV players have the solution.  Turnberry Beach Rugby is the brain child of Andrew Dunlop and Stuart Fenwick, and takes place this weekend.

Men's and women's teams will compete on the sandy shores of Turnberry in a fast-paced and exciting competition that boasts free admission to daytime spectators.  Play begins at midday on Saturday.

The evening before, food and drinks will be available from 7pm, with acoustic music from 8pm.  On Saturday night, wristbands will be available for £5 for admission to the bar and music marquee.

Full details are on the event's Facebook page.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Women's rugby at Ayr RFC

Ayr RFC hosted its first women's rugby training session on Monday evening at Rozelle Park.  Women's rugby has steadily been rising in playing and spectator numbers over the past decade, and Ayr is now getting in on the act.

South Ayrshire SRU development officer, and Ayr 1st XV player, Stuart Fenwick decided to run a taster session after Queen Margaret Academy pupils suggested there was an appetite for women's rugby in Ayrshire.  Open to those aged fourteen years and over, the session attracted fifteen women of various ages and abilities.

Over an hour and a half, the women took part in touch rugby games, rugby-specific circuits, strength and tackling training.  Stuart was assisted by Lindsey Smith, the SRU's women's co-ordinator for the west of Scotland and apprentice William Black. 

All fifteen women seemed to be having a great time, and as one spectator noted, "It looks more fun than going to the gym."

"It was hard work, but good fun," commented Ann Marie Connelly.  "We enjoyed the bonding."

Stuart was pleased with the tournout and hopes for higher numbers next week, when he holds another training session at Rozelle.  Sessions will relocate to Millbrae when the pitches have undergone their final pre-season preparation.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for details.

- Elena Hogarth.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Ayr's new signings in the news

As already announced on our front page, Ayr has made six new signings for the coming season.  The Herald is hot on our heels with the breaking news of Peter Jericevich, Dean Kelbrick, Nick Campbell, George Hunter, Kerr Gossman and Craig Gossman's arrival at Millbrae for an exciting year ahead.  We look forward to welcoming them on board.

Read the full story here and keep your eyes peeled for more news of signings in the coming weeks.


Monday, 7 May 2012

Fergusson and McConnell in Scotland squad for Junior World Championship

Two of Ayr's best young players will be flying out to South Africa at the end of the month as part of the Scotland squad competing in the IRB Junior World Championship.  Fly-half/utility back Robbie Fergusson and scrum-half Murray McConnell have been named in Peter Wright's Under-20s squad to face France, Argentina and Australia in the pool stages and hopefully beyond.

You can read the full story here.

Fergusson and Bennett celebrate a win for Scotland U20s

McConnell on the charge for Ayr

Fergusson and McConnell are joined in a squad of 28 by some of the most talented young Scottish players, including former Ayr man Mark Bennett, who now plies his trade with French side Clermont Auvergne.