IT’S A BIG ASK – BUT WE CAN WIN

Hawick, with forward Dalton Redpath on the ball, in action in their last match against Heriot's.
Hawick, with forward Dalton Redpath on the ball, in action in their last match against Heriot's.

Hawick make a long-awaited return to match action tomorrow (Saturday) in one of the biggest fixtures of the season.

George Graham and the Robbie Dyes are bound for Goldenacre to play a Scottish Cup semi-final against Heriot’s.

It’ll be a very big task, with the Greens having been idle for three weeks and the Edinburgh side fresh off a victory against Currie Chieftains which propelled them into the Premiership final.

But head coach Graham said Hawick were not there as cannon fodder and were capable of winning, having done so in the past against Heriot’s.

They knew it would be a diffiuclt game but they would simplay try and perform to their strengths and do the best they could.

“It’s been a challenging time but the boys have stepped up,” said Graham. “We played Heriot’s at home in the last game of the season and it didn’t go quite as well as we thought, so we’ve needed to wrok on a lot of things to negate that.

“Playing there is a big ask but we have beaten them before, and we can beat them again.

“We just have to make sure we execute what we are trying to do very well and, if we can do that , we will put oursleves in a good area. But we have to make sure we take care of certain aspects of what Heriot’s do and try and make sure we are very accurate and playing rugby in the right areas of the field, to put us in that good place.”

Heriot’s were unlikely to take the game lightly, suspected Graham, knowing they were up against a fellow Premiership side which was capable of playing very good rugby.

“We’ll be working incredibly hard to iron out some of the things we did wrong in the last game of season, and trying to come up with a few new things,” added the head coach.

The prize awaiting the victor is a place at BT Murrayfield on ‘Silver Saturday’ at the end of April, but Graham said the Greens couldn’t really afford to start thinking about that just now.

“It will be a mammoth ask for us to get anything out of the game – but that can work to our advantage,” he added. “Bigger upsets have happened in rugby and sport before this.”

It was also recently confirmed that Graham had signed a new contract, committing him to Mansfield Park for another season.

He said the upcoming league reshuffle, the results of earlier endeavours and the fact he enjoyed working with the players were among the main factors in his decision.

“It’s going to be a very interesting league next season,” he said. “There will be a lot more derbies and we’ll be away to the likes of Marr, Aberdeen, Glasgow – lots of big matches we can get our teeth into.

“Six teams coming from League One and the four staying where we are should throw up a few good games. There are a lot of Border teams – these are good games which the boys love to play in.”

Graham said he was a great believer that, if you kept the nucleus of a team for two or three seasons, preparations often came to fruition, usually around year three.

Of his squad, he said: “It’s been a tough season but they are a great bunch of payers and I really enjoy working with them They are very enthusiastic.”