BOROUGHMUIR coach Iain Paxton today gave backing to goal-kicker Graeme Kiddie as he prepared to put the under-21 internationalist back into the firing line for tomorrow’s crucial BT Premiership clash with Melrose at Meggetland.
Kiddie missed six kicks at goal as ’Muir crashed out of the Scottish Cup at Aberdeen Grammar, by 21-16, last weekend.
But, rightly, Paxton highlighted former Glasgow Rugby and Plymouth star Kiddie’s 100 per cent success rate in terms of conversion attempts from the previous outing - maximum points were taken from all six touchdowns - in providing a vote of confidence as ’Muir seek the win that could put them top.
If that pole position were to be gained Glasgow Hawks would have to slip at Ayr, but Paxton said: "Backs coach Bruce Reekie was a reliable kicker and has been working on our kicking. Regardless of Bruce’s fine efforts I’m satisfied the misses at Aberdeen were a one-off because of the way Graeme has been striking the ball and expect him to be back on song."
In looking to return to winning ways ’Muir will switch James Reilly from wing to stand-off where Alan Sievewright is resting a shoulder injury.
Paxton said: "Alan has put himself on the line for a couple of weeks but the time has come for him to take the break he deserves."
Sievewright’s enforced absence could mean a start for either Peter Oshagbemi or Matt Morrell.
International full back Stuart Moffat is set to make his first club start of the season on release from Glasgow Rugby as Currie attempt to reverse an opening day defeat by Aberdeen Grammar, at Malleny Park. Also available is Borders lock Alastair Davidson and Currie coach Andy Nicol is keen to ensure that momentum is maintained.
"Against Stirling County last week we at last started to put points on the board when we visited the opposition 22 while the strong finish we put in was also encouraging," said Nicol, who could recall Graeme Moffat at centre after an ankle injury. Definitely out is Aaron Cowie (shoulder).
For Heriot’s, the challenge at Hawick is to keep their title challenge alive, coach Kenny Milne admits. "If we lose it is a long way to come back," said Milne whose side lie seven points off the pace.
At the same time, Milne remains upbeat saying that slips could be put right.
"Both the draw with Aberdeen and defeat by Melrose, also at home, were matches which should have been won this season and which cost us dearly but given the close nature of these contests it shouldn’t be beyond us to get back to winning ways," said Milne, aware that full points from those fixtures would have left Heriot’s on top.
Watsonians head for Peebles seeking a fourth successive league scalp. Full back Alan Nash returns from Scotland Under-21 duty while skipper Iain Sinclair is also available again on the flank. Returning from Borders is winger Andy Turnbull to form an attacking spearhead with Colin Gregor whose try tally now stands at 11 from the last six outings.
In Division Two, Murrayfield Wanderers head for Selkirk though the "headquarters" club risk having their thunder stolen by an all-conquering 4th team who, under the tutelage of Derek Burgoine and Derek Cowie, have just posted an eighth consecutive win for a 100 per cent record this season
Stewart’s/Melville entertain fellow contenders Biggar knowing full points are essential to begin the climb back into promotion contention from fourth place. Haddington visit Kirkcaldy fortified by a 38-27 win over the same opponents in the cup last week.
In Division Three, Royal High/Corstorphine are expected to put new signing Robert Wagner, from South Africa, straight in to their line-up at East Kilbride.
Edinburgh Acads head for Ross High seeking to bounce back following a Scottish Cup exit and encouraged by a 100-point thrashing of the same rivals in the corresponding fixture.
Musselburgh could climb into the top three if they see off Cambuslang at Stoneyhill while Preston Lodge will start favourites to defeat second bottom Annan at Pennypit Park.