Rugby: Edinburgh Accies out to ease drop fear

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Coach Simon Cross is hoping his Edinburgh Accies team can step up their Premiership survival bid when they face Stirling County at Raeburn Place tomorrow (kick off 12.30).

A bonus-point win could lift Accies to fourth bottom and within sight of the top half of a tightly-bunched table with two further matches remaining.

However, defeat would increase the chances of having to enter a play-off or even being overcome by a late revival from basement boys Boroughmuir.

Cross, who has ex-Edinburgh pro Alex Blair at full-back and Robin Snape on the bench after a year out through injury, says: “This young and settled squad knows that our fate is very much in their hands.

“They have worked incredibly hard all season and with three games to go, any number of league positions are still possible. Total commitment and energy have been a trademark of this group all season and we will need both to overhaul a powerful and in-form Stirling side.”

A major obstacle will be Rob McAlpine, the 21-year-old second row, who has made ten appearances for Edinburgh, including a first European Cup start this season.

Stirling coach Graeme Young, delighted to have McAlpine on release, has revenge on his mind when referring to how his team went down 32-34 at home in the corresponding fixture.

“Our first encounter with Accies was a hard-fought game with little between the teams and we expect nothing less this time,” he said.

Centre Danny Gilmour returns for Stirling. In East Division One tomorrow, Portobello entertain RHC Cougars.