THE semi-final draw for the RBS National Cup has thrown up am intriguing Borders battle between Gala and Melrose and a tough trip to Dundee for double-chasing Ayr.
Scotland 7s players Colin Gregor and Andrew Turnbull made the draw as well as the Shield and Bowl semi-finals and some mouth-watering ties are in prospect.
Gala, 27-12 winners at Aberdeen Grammar in last Saturday’s quarter-finals, will have home advantage against Melrose, who progressed to the last eight with a 27-12 victory at Selkirk.
Kenny Murray’s Ayr clinched the title last month and are now chasing an elusive double under the current structure in the Scottish game.
They thumped Stirling County 31-13 last weekend but are unlikely to get it easy against Dundee HSFP after their hard-fought 30-29 victory away to Currie.
First to be decided was the third-tiered Bowl competition that will see Grangemouth Stags meet Kinloss Eagles at Glensburgh and Oban Lorne welcome Broughton to Glencruitten Drive.
In the RBS Shield, meanwhile, Aberdeenshire will play Marr at Woodside and RHC Cougars or Livingston will welcome the Border regional winner – Berwick, Gala YM or Langholm.
“These are six very exciting ties we have ahead of National Finals Day in April,” said Scottish Rugby’s head of clubs and schools, Nick Rennie. “The national knock-out competitions are always very competitive and closely fought out affairs.
“All 12 teams will be desperate to get to Murrayfield and be in with a chance of winning silverware.”
All semi-final ties in the Cup, Shield and Bowl will be played on Saturday, 30 March.
Meanwhile, The first two of four National Youth League Cup and Bowl finals were decided over the weekend.
In the under-18 Youth League Cup, Gala Wanderers will play defending champions Stirling County Colts. Wanderers progressed after a 35-21 victory at home over local rivals Melrose Wasps while Colts beat Ayr 30-24 at Bridgehaugh.
Gala will be looking for revenge after being knocked out of the competition by Stirling County in last year’s semi-finals.
The under-18 Youth League Bowlwill be contested between Hamilton and Peebles Colts. Hamilton have knocked out Lasswade (14-3) and, most recently, Ellon (36-12) on their way to the final while Peebles, who were beaten in last year’s final, knocked out Glasgow Hawks in the semis with a 20-14 home win.
At under-16 level, Currie have made it through to the final after a convincing 44-3 scoreline at home to West of Scotland. The other semi-final will be contested between Hawick Albion and Melrose on Wednesday, 13 March (kick-off 7.30pm).
Finally, in the under-16 Bowl Highland have booked their spot in the final to face either Ayr or Mackie Academy, who will play on Sunday, 10 March (kick-off 2pm). Highland beat Musselburgh in Inverness with a 27-24 scoreline.
Gala v Melrose
Dundee HSFP v Ayr
Aberdeenshire v Marr
RHC Cougars or Livingston v Berwick, Langholm or Gala YM
Grangemouth Stags v Kinloss Eagles
Oban Lorne v Broughton