With the initial Super6 season being declared null-and-void at the start of the Covid pandemic back in March 2020, this moment has been a long time coming – and both sides are, understandably, keen to mark the occasion in style.
Both franchises started the campaign slowly but built serious momentum to become the two stand-out teams in the league, and although the Bulls suffered a hiccup when they lost 41-14 to Watsonians in their final match of the regular campaign last Sunday, they had already done enough to ensure that they would finish in the top two.
“We went into that weekend with one eye focusing on this weekend coming, we didn’t show Watsonians the respect they deserve, and it just showed us that every team in this comp has the capability to go out and put 40 points on any other team on their day,” said Bulls vice-captain Jordan Lenac.
“It definitely wasn’t what we needed, but it gave us a bit of a reality check,” he added.
“Our energy and physicality is what we pride ourselves on, and that’s what was lacking last weekend. This week is going to be a different ball game altogether.”
Meanwhile, Southern Knights captain Craig Jackson – who has missed most of the season with a knee injury but has remained an active member of the squad – believes that the Melrose-based franchise’s biggest success this season has been in building stronger links with other clubs in the region.
“The Hawick boys have really added to it, you’ve got Simmy [Iain Sim] from Kelso, and there’s a really good Border diversity within the squad,” he said. “I think the name change has helped a lot – it’s made it easier for players to come over.
“The base is still the same,” he added. “Rob [Chrystie as head coach] has got the same ethos in place that we had at Melrose and was quite successful there. Underneath it’s still very much the same, but the outer look is more Border-centric.”
Watsonians host Stirling County in the 3rd/4th place play-off at Myreside tonight. The home side are on a high after that win over the Bulls, while the visitors need to bounce back after their three-match winning run came to an abrupt halt when they went down 36-7 away to the Knights last Friday.
“That was one to forget for us,” said County head coach Cairns. “We actually started the match fairly well and played some decent rugby at times but were taught a lesson in game management and ultimately played most of the match in our own half.
“Watsonians will be delighted with how they went last week against the Bulls to secure the home tie this weekend. The teams know each other very well and both encounters have gone down to the wire. We would have loved to have been at home for our final match of the season, however, Myreside under the Friday night lights isn’t a bad place to go play some rugby.”
The 5th/6th place play-off between Heriot’s and Boroughmuir Bears will be played at Goldenacre tomorrow afternoon.