RUGBY UNION RBS Na­tional Cup semi-fi­nals

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Ayr v Bor­ough­muir

The new-look RBS Cup goes na­tional to­day as the four re­gional win­ners de­cide who will meet at Mur­ray­field in the final. All four slots are filled by sides drawn from Premier A and in what looks a des­per­ately close en­counter at Mill­brae, there may be sig­nif­i­cance in the fact that the vis­i­tors are bot­tom of that pile.

Ayr have had a dis­ap­point­ing league sea­son that leaves them out­side next year’s B&I Cup, but they have mo­ti­va­tion in seek­ing to win this tro­phy for a record-equalling third time.

Kenny Mur­ray, the Ayr coach, said: “This rep­re­sents a golden op­por­tu­nity to ap­pear at Mur­ray­field in a final for the third time in a row. With Bor­ough­muir al­ways look­ing to play good rugby and with the usual en­thu­si­as­tic Ayr crowd, it is set to be a cracker of a game.”

Key play­ers from last year have moved on notably re­tired totemic cap­tain Damien Kelly, fel­low for­wards Glenn Tip­pet (re­tired) and Gor­don Reid (Glas­gow), plus cen­tre Mark Ben­nett, now with Cler­mont.

Mur­ray makes a num­ber of changes to the side that lost at home to Gala last week. The only change in the backs is the re­turn of cen­tre and cap­tain Mark Ste­wart af­ter in­jury. Steve Man­ning moves to the wing. At scrum half Mur­ray Mccon­nell joins Scot­land un­der-20 half back part­ner Rob Fer­gus­son, while Gra­ham Fisken starts at No.8.

Fer­gus Pringle, the Bor­ough­muir coach, said: “We only need to win a semi-final once and while Mill­brae will be some­thing dif­fer­ent the squad is up for the chal­lenge.”

He makes a num­ber of changes to the side that was edged out last week at Stir­ling. There is plenty of speed on the wings, with the re­turn from in­jury of Redha Gue­droudj and Sep Visser’s move from full back where Keith Buchan takes over. Alex Hen­der­son gets a start at flanker so Iain Moddy moves to lock and Jamie Swan­son takes the No.8 shirt. Pre­dic­tion Muir up­set on cards

Dundee HSFP v Gala

Heady times at May­field. Hav­ing al­ready as­sured them­selves of a first ever ap­pear­ance in the B&I Cup, High could take a step to­day to­wards a first ever cup win. They also trail league lead­ers Mel­rose by a sin­gle point and so have a shot at the first league cham­pi­onship in their his­tory next week­end, a date that may be on their minds as they take on Gala.

Gala, who are as­sured of fin­ish­ing third and en­ter­ing the B&I Cup, were win­ners of this com­pe­ti­tion in 1999 and have al­ready over­achieved upon their re­turn to the top di­vi­sion.

When the sides met on the first Satur­day of the month, High had to dig

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