Inter-District Championship: top of the table clash at Kelso

by 24britishtvMarch 29, 2024, 3 p.m. 19
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After both sides claimed close-run victories in round one of the IDC, they have named strong squads as they look to protect an undefeated start to the campaign.

Knowing their formidable opposition, Glasgow have opted to rotate their starting props, bringing in Michael Fox (GHA) and Brandon Sweet (Marr), and Tom Martin (Ayr) earns a start at hooker after a strong showing from the bench last week.

Glasgow head coach Kenny Diffenthal said his side will be looking to go toe to toe with The South at their home: “Never having played The South we are in uncharted territory, but we know from last year’s performances and their fightback against Edinburgh last week it will be a tough and extremely demanding encounter. They have a big physical pack and a set of talented backs, so we need to be able to match this challenge and go toe to toe with them.

“We need to be patient and precise in defence, soak up any pressure and counter as and when the opportunities present. We aim to build on last week’s performance and make sure we continue the momentum,” Diffenthal added.

The South head coach Matty Douglas made comment of how difficult selection was this week, having lost Aaron McCombe and Andrew Mitchell to niggling injuries.

“However we have great replacements available, so our team is strong and well balanced. The pack carries a strong club identity with very sturdy back up. Our bench remains very strong,” he said.

“In the backs we introduce Archie Barbour of Kelso for his first match on his home ground. We are excited to see what Archie can achieve at this level.

“Everyone in the borders is looking forward to welcoming a strong and buoyant Glasgow to Poynder Park. We will have a warm welcome ready for them and hope to see a good crowd at the game to support the players in providing a real spectacle.”

On the other side of the draw, Edinburgh host 2023 IDC champions Caledonia Reds at Raeburn Place. Both will look to put their round one loss behind them so they can be in with a chance to win the competition come the final weekend.

Caledonia Reds have also chosen to shift their pack around, making three changes to the starting line-up this week.

Bryce Robertson has been selected at hooker ahead of Fraser Allan who drops out of the squad. Connor Faulds has been selected at full-back, with Adriu Muritoki moving to the wing and Ryan Flett dropping out of the squad. Meanwhile, DJ Innes returns from injury to start at 12 with Murray Mitchell dropping to the bench.

Caledonia Reds head coach Colin Sangster said his side is raring to go, but knows full well the danger that Edinburgh presents.

“Following on from last week’s narrow loss to Glasgow, the players are excited to take on Edinburgh this weekend. Last week we lost a close game with Glasgow, which could have gone either way and given the closeness of Edinburgh’s first game, it’s clear that these are games of fine margins.

“Edinburgh were unlucky not to get the win, where, especially in the first half they played some great rugby against a strong South team. So, we need to raise our game up a notch or two and I have no doubt that our squad will rise to the challenge,” Sangster added.

Sangster’s opposite number, Edinburgh head coach Bob McKillop, said his coaching team was pleased with much of the performance, resilience and bravery the team showed to fight back and almost win in the previous week.

“After the initial disappointment the squad, led by the senior players, have identified the areas they’d like to improve upon, but also the areas of strength that we all want to see more of.

“We lost a wee bit of momentum in the third quarter last week, without that we would have won. This week we will be desperate to play for the full 80 minutes,” McKillop said.

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