Christmas is ushered in this weekend in the Tennent’s Premiership with the hugely attractive prospect of a top-table clash.
Champions Melrose restored themselves in pole position with Saturday’s 48-17 win at Edinburgh Accies, while old adversaries Ayr slipped up at home to Heriot’s.
The two face each other on Saturday at the Greenyards, equally keen for a good result on which to enter the festive break .
Melrose head coach Rob Chrystie said: “It’s going to be a massive physical challenge.
“They are going to be hurting after the last couple of weeks of disappointing results but, hopefully we will get a really good crowd.
“It’s a top-table clash this week and we know only our best will do.
“They have a lot of experienced players and, if we are not on it, they are good enough to punish you, there’s no doubt about that.”
Chrystie said a good display against ailing Edinburgh had been crucial to the players.
“In any game, potentially, if you don’t prepare well or prepare properly, the chances are the opposition will turn you over, and every dog has his day, as they say.
“But we talked about it during week – we really needed to make sure we were putting in a performance.”
Melrose were continuing to improve and be as good as they could be, with full club involvement, and it had worked fairly well this season so far, said Chrystie.
“With the transition the club has gone through, in realtion to five players going full time at the end of last season, we knew this season would be different.
“But I think the young boys who have come through the whole club system, and are now playing first-team rugby for Melrose, are doing the club really proud.
“It’s a testament to all involved that we are able to develop these young players and now they are getting their opportunity – and they are actually taking their opportunity, so the whole club should really be quite proud of that fact.”