THE top four sides in the BT Premiership meet in the play-off semi-finals this afternoon with big crowds expected at both Goldenacre and Millbrae.
Heriot’s, who topped the regular season table, take on Currie who finished in fourth place while second-placed Ayr host last year’s champions Melrose.
We have lost to Heriot’s three times this season, but they have all been close matches.Ben Cairns
For one teenage player involved in the former tie it has been quite a surreal week.
Currie winger Ruaraidh Smith, 19, has had a good couple of years since arriving at Malleny Park via North Berwick High School and Oakham School.
He has made it into the Scotland Under-20 squad and played in three of the recent RBS Six Nations matches, but nothing could have prepared him for the last few days.
With Currie and Glasgow Hawks tied at 10-10, and the home side’s top-four hopes hanging in the balance, James Semple had a kick to win it for the Edinburgh men.
The relatively simple penalty attempt smacked off the upright, but Semple reacted quickest and gathered the rebound before putting Smith in at the corner for the try as they won 15-10.
At the time Currie players, coaches and supporters mobbed Smith and since then, via a video posted on the internet by Coach Logic, the try has been viewed over 110,000 times throughout the world.
“At one point I wasn’t going to watch the kick as I was pretty nervous, but I have always been taught to stay alert during situations like that just in case the ball comes back live,” Smith said.
“James did well to remain calm and gather the ball and assess the situation and I just saw a gap and went for it. It is quite bizarre that so many people have viewed the try this week online, but more importantly for me and the club it got us into the top four.”
Smith has had to deal with knee ligament damage and a broken jaw this season – a combined 13 weeks out – but when he has been fit he has been a key part of their team.
He credits head coach Ben Cairns for a lot of his progress and said: “Ben has been great this year.
“We have lost to Heriot’s three times this season, but they have all been close matches and we will go to Goldenacre and give it our best shot.”
Heriot’s have been the standout side in the country this year and in any other season would have clinched the title weeks ago.
However, the new system means they still have to win two matches to get their hands on some silverware and their head coach Phil Smith said: “The team have trained well recently and as soon as we found out who our opponents were we have tried to quickly come up with a plan to get the win.”
Meanwhile, Ayr, who won the top-flight title in 2012-13, have home advantage over Melrose having beaten the same opponents at The Greenyards last weekend.
Ayr head coach Calum Forrester said: “The players’ attitude and commitment was outstanding last week and we will need the same again for 80 minutes today against a Melrose team who will be hurting and focused entirely on coming to Ayr to do a job.”
His Melrose counterpart John Dalziel added: “It’s do or die time, so if we really want to keep a hold on the league trophy which sits in our cabinet then it simply has to start today.”
Also today, in the final BT Premiership regular season match, Glasgow Hawks and Stirling County meet, with the loser set to finish second bottom and have to negotiate a relegation play-off match with GHA.
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