Brian MORRISSEY, a young Irish student, has made a timely arrival at Heriot’s and plays second row against Boroughmuir at Meggetland tonight in the Scottish rugby premiership after it was confirmed former New Zealand Schools cap, Jack Turley, had been ruled out for the season.
Described by coach Phil Smith as “raw boned and awkward to play against”, Morrissey pitched up on arriving in the Capital and Heriot’s could not have realised then how useful he would prove. “Jack’s X-rays have shown a break and he’ll be out for the rest of the campaign,” said Smith.
Heriot’s are also without ex-pro wing Marc Teague, who is unavailable, but Smith is delighted that Edinburgh signing Mike Penn continues to give outstanding service at full-back.
“Mike has played every game for us in the most professional fashion,” said Smith. “He turns up, never makes a mistake, and just gets on with things.”
Compared with the side that beat Aberdeen last week, Craig Owenson comes in at prop, where Gavin Cameron is rested, while Harry Boisseau (ex-Stewart’s Melville) gets a first substitute opportunity.
Boroughmuir have had to make a late change with Russell Weir being denied a debut at scrum-half because of injury. Andy Watt steps in to renew a half-back link with fit-again Ally Warnock while the return of Andy Rose and Iain Moody will stiffen the home forward effort.
Also turning out for the first time this season is former Scotland under-20 centre, Steve Wilson. Almost all the ’Muir line-up will be familiar to Phil Smith who, until last season, coached at Meggetland. However, his attentions are exclusively geared to picking up the points that will further distance Heriot’s from what promises to be a relegation dog fight.
“Approaching the halfway stage we are desperate to avoid being dragged into a scrap to avoid the drop.
“At the moment, eight of the ten teams could still be involved in that situation and key tonight will be to overcome a strong Boroughmuir set-piece,” said Smith.
Edinburgh Accies head for Aberdeen with the only pack change Andrew Findlater for the unavailable Hamish Watson while Ewen Campbell and Nyle Godsmark form a new centre combination with Alex Blair and Iain Berthinussen injured.
Accies coach Simon Cross is aware of the plight of the basement boys. He said: “This is a must-win game for Aberdeen and we understand the ferocity of the contest coming our way.”
It hardly helps Accies’ cause that Scott Wight has been released by Glasgow and starts at stand-off for the Dons.
At Malleny Park, Currie aim to keep in touch with the title-chasing group by inflicting a first defeat on Ayr. On the wing, Alan Whittingham replaces John Houston.
National League contenders Watsonians are at Kelso with Danny Moussa and Dylan Rutherford returning to the front row, while Stewart’s Melville head for Jed-Forest.
The children’s charity Dreamz4U will be the beneficiary of a match tonight at Murrayfield (7.30pm) between the Pigbarians Select over-35s and Monza, from Italy.
The Pigbarians squad includes Alan Sievewright, Andy Knight, Neil McCallum (Boroughmuir), Euan Robertson, Phillippe Hourcastagne, Kenny Christie (all Watsonians), Lee McDonald, Keith Harrison (both Lismore), Stuart Thom (Stew Mel), Simon Cross (Accies) Richard Mann (Currie), Mark Dow, Ralf Farthing, Mark Anderson, Bruce Aitchison, James Robertson, Chris Dove (all Murrayfield Wanderers), Mark Connell (Portobello), Darren Burns (Queensferry), Sky Laurie, Roy Smith (Dunfermline).