Friday, 27 March 2015

Melrose v Ayr preview

Ayr enter the lion's den at the Greenyards tomorrow as they aim to make their last BT Premiership fixture of the season count.

Melrose and their visitors will be fighting it out for second place in the table, with the victor ensuring a home tie in next week's play-off semi-final.  Ayr's head coach Calum Forrester is all too aware that his men will be need to be at their absolute best.

"This is a winner-takes-all affair.  In our previous encounter earlier in the year, we played the best opening twenty minutes of rugby of our season.  We know we will need to raise our game to that level again as Melrose have recorded a number of good victories in recent outings."

He concludes: "We expect this to be a bruising encounter as both sides look to get an edge over the other going into next weekend's semi-final."

No matter the outcome of tomorrow's match, Ayr and Melrose will face each other again next week as second place plays third place, but it's that all important home advantage they will be looking for.  The Bill McLaren Shield is also up for grabs.

In the starting fifteen, Blair Macpherson moves to number eight in place of the injured Graham Fisken and Will Bordill returns to openside flanker after impressing in the Pro12 for Glasgow.  His fellow young Warriors Fergus Scott and George Hunter make up the front row with Fraser Watt.  Cammy Taylor is named on the wing as Craig Gossman is injured.

Ayr's bench is bolstered by three Glasgow Warriors in the shape of Dougie Hall, James Eddie and Murray McConnell.  Scotstoun stalwart Hall will be retiring at the end of the season and after some good performances in the pink and black shirt this year, Ayr fans will be glad to see him turn out once again for the Millbrae men.

Eddie played several games for Ayr last season, including an away match against Melrose in which he scored a blistering try, so the travelling support will be hoping for a repeat performance.  And, of course, long-time Ayr favourite McConnell tearing about the pitch is always a welcome sight.


15. Grant Anderson; 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Robbie Fergusson, 12. Dean Kelbrick (c), 11. Cammy Taylor; 10. Danny McCluskey, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Fergus Scott, 3. Fraser Watt; 4. Robert McAlpine, 5. Scott Sutherland; 6. Andrew Dunlop, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Blair Macpherson.


16. Dougie Hall, 17. Stuart Fenwick, 18. James Eddie, 19. Murray McConnell, 20. Kerr Gossman.

Kick-off 3pm!  Follow the scores live in Twitter.

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