Rugby: Glasgow Hawks coaching team looking to get off to a flyer

Glasgow Hawks’ new-look coaching team of Jamie Dempsey and Jimmy Sinclair are looking forward to their team’s RBS National League opener with Watsonians this afternoon.

Following last year’s relegation from the top flight, Peter Wright departed for pastures new, as did numerous players, but the duo have worked hard over the summer to rebuild the squad at Old Anniesland.

Seven days ago they defeated Aberdeen Grammar in a pre-season friendly and Dempsey, who is in his fifth year at the club, and the very experienced Sinclair cannot wait for the league to start. Dempsey said: “It has been a busy summer for us and the players, but there is a real determination amongst the group for us to compete well in the coming months.

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“Watsonians always put up a tough test and both teams like to play attacking rugby so the supporters who come to watch today should be in for a treat.”

A first glance at the Hawks’ team named sees the high-quality back-row of captain Ross Miller, Grant Strang and George Oommen jump out at you. They will look to dominate the breakdown area and former pro Rory McKay is also available off the bench.

One to watch in the backs could be former Hillhead/Jordanhill winger Kirk James-Williams.

‘Sonians give a debut to talented youngster Scott McKean at outside centre while Andrew Joseph is at No 8 after good pre-season showings and stand-off Ben Di Rollo is captain.

Elsewhere this afternoon, Hawick are on the road to Stewart’s Melville.

With Bruce McNeil having departed for Biggar, talented scrum-half Greg Cottrell captains the Greens and his link-up with stand-off Rory Hutton will be key.

The home side welcome Scotland Under-20 winger Michael Crawley back into the fold after a season at Boroughmuir. Former Edinburgh player Adrian Duncan covers the hooker position from the bench.

Selkirk welcome Kelso to Philphaugh for a Borders derby with the home side naming the same starting XV that saw off Jed-Forest last Friday night in the Booker Border League. Ex-skipper Neil Darling is back on the bench after getting married last week.

Hamilton have a few first-team players missing through injury, but are looking forward to hosting Biggar in a Lanarkshire derby at Laigh Bent.

And Jed-Forest host Hillhead-Jordanhill with Garry Elder starting at No 8 following his return to the club from Melrose. He is joined in a strong looking back-row by Donald Grieve and Michael Weekley.