RUGBY UNION RBS National Cup semi-finals
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