Friday, 16 December 2016

Melrose v Ayr preview

It's the last match of 2016 and it couldn't be a better one as Ayr travel to the Greenyards to play BT Premiership leaders Melrose, kicking off at 2pm.

Scotland's two best teams will go head-to-head at the historic ground, and with Melrose just one point above Ayr in the table, there's all to play for as the calendar year comes to a close.

Ayr head coach Calum Forrester predicts a 'physical encounter'.

'The game at Millbrae earlier this season was a close affair and we expect the same again.'

Forrester was pleased with his troops' fighting spirit last week when they rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat Hawick.

'The players showed real character to come away with the victory. We know that we cannot afford to find ourselves in a similar situation this Saturday against a dangerous Melrose side.'

There are some changes in the squad due to injuries, with Ross Curle moving from centre to stand-off to link up with David Armstrong. Danny McCluskey takes Curle's usual berth, with Richard Dalgleish and Cameron Taylor starting on the wings.

In the forwards, Glasgow Warriors' Adam Ashe makes his Ayr debut and his much-awaited return from injury, with his fellow Scotstoun man Pat MacArthur making up a dynamic front row with props George Hunter and Adam Prentice.

Robert McAlpine and Will Bordill both make welcome comebacks from injury.

James Malcolm and Djustice Sears-Duru have been released again by the Warriors and add to a powerful bench with youngsters Lewis Anderson and Stafford McDowall and the fleet-of-foot Jamie Bova.

15. Grant Anderson; 14. Richard Dalgleish, 13. Archie Russell, 12. Danny McCluskey, 11. Cameron Taylor; 10. Ross Curle, 9. David Armstrong; 1. George Hunter, 2. Pat MacArthur, 3. Adam Prentice; 4. Blair Macpherson, 5. Robert McAlpine; 6. Adam Ashe, 7. Will Bordill, 8. Pete McCallum (c).

16. James Malcolm, 17. Djustice Sears-Duru, 18. Lewis Anderson, 19. Jamie Bova, 20. Stafford McDowall.

Kick-off 2pm for both the 1st and 2nd XV games. Follow the 1sts' live on Twitter and the 2nds' via the Ultimate Rugby app.

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