Focus for Melrose and Gala switches to the Scottish Cup this weekend as the quarter-final stages get under way with home ties against Heriot’s and Stirling respectively.
Both Borders sides are still very much in the running for the Premiership title, but Melrose coach John Dalziel stated this week that the cup is a huge priority and admitted that the knock-out part of the competition brings its own sort of pressure.
“We are very much looking forward to the challenge the cup brings,” he told The Southern.
“There has been great excitement around league fixtures lately with some pretty tense matches being played at both ends of the table.
“The cup is a welcome break, but comes with just as much pressures in terms of winning ... one loss and it’s all over.”
Melrose have worked hard over the last few years to ensure they have reached five out of the last six cup finals, and Dalziel is looking for his team to be at their best on Saturday as they set their sights on another.
“Heriot’s are a great side who play good rugby. They are well coached and have good players, so we know exactly how big a challenge we face,” he added.
“With the honours even after our two league matches, this is set to be another hugely competitive affair. Games between the two teams have traditionally been open and high-scoring, with both playing a similar open style of rugby.
“Cup rugby is different, however, and is all about the win, so I am sure both teams will tweak things here and there, making this a competitive and very physical contest.
“We are looking forward to getting out there in front of our own supporters and hopefully we can make the home advantage count. We are under no illusions that we will have to be at our very best if we are to get the win we all desire.
“It is hugely encouraging at this time of year to be still alive in all major competitions, so we are very focused and determined to continue our recent winning form.”
The game at the Greenyard’s kicks off at 2.30pm on Saturday, while over at Netherdale the game gets underway at 3pm.
Go to page 72 for the rest of the weekend’s rugby fixtures.