The BT Premiership returns this afternoon with Heriot’s looking to stretch their 12-point lead at the top of the table.
While much of the talk in the last 24 hours may have been about new Scotland squad member Hugh Blake turning out for Melrose at Goldenacre this afternoon, just up the road at Raeburn Place another exciting prospect will be continuing his comeback from injury for Edinburgh Accies.
Twenty-year-old winger Jamie Farndale, who is on Edinburgh Rugby’s books, played his first match of the season last week for Accies after nearly six months on the sidelines with a leg problem.
He will once again line up for Accies in the BT Premiership today in a crucial match against Glasgow Hawks.
During pre-season with the pro side, Farndale, who earned more than 20 caps for Scotland under-20 between 2012 and 2014, was looking impressive and was set to push first-choice wingers Dougie Fife and Tim Visser hard for starting spots.
However, he suffered a knee injury and, having broken the same right leg back in 2012, he knew it was going to be quite a long road back to fitness.
“It was very frustrating because I was enjoying being part of pre-season with the full squad and I was eyeing this term as my chance to push for a place in the Edinburgh matchday squad on a regular basis,” Farndale explained.
“Having suffered a leg break before I was used to rehab, so I just got my head down and worked hard with the medical experts and, for the last few weeks, I have been in full training with the squad and taken contact.
“It was great to get a run out for Accies last week down at Gala, although it was annoying to lose. I managed to grab a try, but felt a bit rusty and I am looking forward to getting more minutes under my belt this week.
“Having been at Edinburgh Academy, I have played with Edinburgh Accies quite a bit over the years and, although we are bottom of the table, I think there is a lot of talent and a good belief in the squad.”
With leading scorer Sam Pecqueur missing for Accies, Farndale’s availability for the tenth versus ninth match is a big boost for head coach Phil Leck.
Were Accies to lose today and eighth-placed Boroughmuir defeated Gala, then the former could find themselves seven or eight points behind their relegation rivals, so it is a big day for them.
’Muir welcome Gala to Meggetland after a cracking away win at Ayr. Sep Visser returns for the home side and will line up at outside centre with experienced Irish prop Dan O’Connell also back into the first XV.
First plays third at Goldenacre with Heriot’s taking on Melrose.
The crowd may well be swelled by Blake’s inclusion in the back row for Melrose in what will be just his third outing on Scottish soil since arriving from New Zealand, but the hosts are very much the team to beat right now.
Melrose captain Fraser Thomson said: “Hugh has fitted in really well with the boys down at Melrose. He showed against Hawick last week that he is a talented boy.
“His tackle rate was very high, he must have made at least 15, while he was impressive at the breakdown and he gets around the pitch well.”
Harry Boisseau starts on the wing. The last time these sides met in October, Melrose came out on top in a 44-43 cracker.
Currie and Stirling County know they need to record wins today to keep up their respective hopes of a top four play-off place.
Ayr are the visitors to Malleny Park to face Currie with County hosting Hawick at Bridgehaugh.