A NEW face has arrived at Philiphaugh, and a pretty grizzly one to boot.
Otago prop, Peter Mirrielees, touched down on Wednesday in time to be available for Selkirk’s RBS Cup home game against Kelso on Saturday.
The front row man, dubbed “Grizzly Adams” because of his long hair grown for charitable reasons, is quite a character and will be a replacement for fellow Kiwi Rob Taylor, who left to return to his native land after seven years playing for the Souters.Mirrielees, 28, has played 43 times for Otago since 2005. The 5’11”/16 stone 10 lb Kiwi was born in Invercargill and rugby director Dennis Henderson is hoping the new man will make an immediate impact.
“He has played nine times for Otago and was a member of the team that recently beat Auckland for the first time in 26 years,” he told us.
Coaches may select Mirrielees for the game along with Gordon Paterson who is available after his one-game ban for being red-carded at Hawick.
Melrose travel to Riverside Park for their second Cup fixture. The Greenyards men were given a run for their money last weekend before grinding out a victory over Kelso and will be looking to cash in again when facing an unpredictable Jed-Forest side.
Melrose president John Reed said: “Kelso proved to be a stern test for our team. The Kelso pack were a well drilled outfit and it took us some time to get on top of the game. However we managed to prevail in the difficult weather conditions.
“I’m sure this weekend’s game against Jed will be an equally challenging match.”
Melrose welcomed Romanian prop Petru Tamba to their squad last weekend and the former under-20 national player got off to a flying start when scoring on his debut.
After their week off Hawick and Peebles should feel the benefit of fresh legs and are all set to clash at The Gytes.
Elsewhere this week, as clubs look ahead to an exciting championship run-in, a re-draft of the professional players has been held to allow for the revised league structure in the second half of the season.
The league has split into RBS Premier A, B & C and all of the professional players who were originally drafted to Glasgow Hawks, Heriots, Edinburgh Accies and Hawick (23 players in total) have been re-drafted to the eight clubs remaining in RBS Premier A.
Gala will benefit from the added support of Jim Thompson, Andrew Turnbull, Mike Blair, while Melrose can add Kyle Traynor and Lee Jones to their list.
Peter Wright, RBS Premier One representative on the Scottish Rugby Council, said: “With the structural changes to the league now in place, the draft gives those sides at the top of club rugby an opportunity to drive up standards even further.
“The clubs do acknowledge not all the professionals in the draft will turn out for the RBS Premier A sides, but we want to get the clubs and the pro players working together. It’s important the players have that connection to the clubs and at the same time the clubs embrace the professional game.”
These players are added to the original draft by the RBS Premier 1 sides of five players each. Premier A will kick-off on Saturday, January 14.