Decision day on top-flight status

A glimpse of Hawick and Gala's recent meeting in the BT Cup, which Gala won 23-15 (picture by Alwyn Johnstone)
A glimpse of Hawick and Gala's recent meeting in the BT Cup, which Gala won 23-15 (picture by Alwyn Johnstone)

It’s effectively a win or face relegation contest for two of Scottish rugby’s biggest names at Mansfield Park on Saturday.

Hosts Hawick, ninth in the BT Premiership, face anchor side Gala, four points adrift, to decide who figures in a potential relegation play-off, while the other will be staring at a near-certain drop.

Gala may have a slight psychological edge after their 23-15 BT Cup win over Hawick on January 28. But for both teams, the focus is very much on winning and closing the book on automatic relegation.

“Everyone knows how big this game is – it’s massive, with so much riding on it,” said Hawick captain Bruce McNeil.

“But we are fully confident we can win. We have to leave nothing in the tank and make sure that, if Gala are going to beat us, they’re going to have to be absolutely outstanding.

“The bottom line is we are going to go at Gala from the opening minute. No slow starting. ”

Gala’s position is more precarious with just two games left, but skipper Graham Speirs assured fans they had “not thrown the towl in and were confident they could put together a performance.

“We have to go into these games confident, because they are against teams in a similar position to ourselves (Hawick, Boroughmuir), so effectively they are eight-point games,” he added. “They are huge games with big repercussions when it comes to league positions. But the boys are focused and confident.

“As a rugby player, playing in meaningful games is what you want to do.”