Cup draw adds a touch of spice to Selkirk’s season

SELKIRK’S reward for their commanding win in the Border Cup by notching up a five-match whitewash is a home tie against local rivals and former cup holders Melrose on Saturday, March 2, writes Fiona Scott.

And Souters coach Brian Cassidy couldn’t be happier with the quarter-final draw which was made this week by Scotland stand-off Duncan Weir and prop Euan Murray.

“Any of the two Borders sides would have done, but we are delighted to have been drawn against Melrose.

“We have quite a good record against them, but will be taking nothing for granted. They are a league above us and have a great record in the cup and will be firm favourites to win this tie.

“I am quietly confident, however, that at Philiphaugh, with a good crowd behind us, we can make a game of it.

“The boys have already done a great job in getting us this far in the competition and drawing Melrose in the quarter-final really adds a bit of spice to things.”

All four British & Irish Cup teams from Scotland, including Melrose and Gala, received a bye into the quarter-finals, but all will be playing away games.

Melrose coach Craig Chalmers said: “It won’t be easy, but that’s a pretty good draw for us. It should be a great atmosphere at Philiphaugh.”

Gala have drawn a tough tie against Aberdeen Grammar at Rubislaw.

The Edinburgh Cup final will take place on Friday night between Currie and Heriot’s, with the winner playing Dundee HSFP. In the West Cup final it will be Glasgow Hawks and Ayr who battle for the remaining quarter-final place against Stirling County.

Scottish Rugby’s head of clubs and schools, Nick Rennie, said: “Congratulations to the teams who have won their regional cup already or have made it to their respective regional final. We welcome back the four B&I Cup clubs into the draw and I am looking forward to some very exciting matches as we move into the business end of the competition.”

This weekend, the Borders teams tie up their cup matches with Kelso v Hawick YM and Peebles v Jed-Forest all taking place on Friday night. In the National League, Hawick and Selkirk are both on the road and play Hillhead/Jordanhill and Hamilton respectively.

On the international front, it’s good news for Kelso hooker Ross Ford this week after Scott Johnson was forced to reshuffle his team for the match against Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday (kick off 2.30pm) due to injuries.

Ford replaces Dougie Hall in the starting line-up, with the latter hoping to recover from an injury received in the England game to take his place on the bench.

Local lads Stuart Hogg (Hawick), Greig Laidlaw (Jed-Forest) and Kelly Brown (Melrose) all retain their places, with Gala’s Geoff Cross on the bench.

Scotland team to face Italy: S. Hogg; S. Maitland, S. Lamont, M. Scott, T. Visser; R. Jackson, G. Laidlaw; R. Grant, R. Ford, E. Murray, R. Gray, J. Hamilton, R. Harley, K. Brown, J. Beattie. Subs: D. Hall or P. MacArthur, M. Low, G. Cross, A. Kellock, D. Denton, H. Pyrgos, D. Weir, M. Evans.

Gala’s Russell Anderson and Chris Auld will start for Scotland Under-20s against Italy at Netherdale on Friday at 7.30pm. Hawick’s Shawn Muir is on the bench.