Evening Express

Rugby preview: Grammar coach making changes but backs side after work on drills

Aberdeen Grammar RFC manager, Ali O'Connor.

Aberdeen Grammar’s quest goes on for a top-four place in National League 1 after they bounced back to beat Selkirk last week at Rubislaw.

That victory came after a run of poor results, and they will need to be at their very best tomorrow when they take on Gala in the Borders.

Head coach Ali O’Connor was under no illusion about the enormity of the task facing the Rubislaw side at Netherdale.

He said: “After a blistering start to their campaign, they had a dip in form, but have rallied, winning their last four games.

“But we were pretty smart last week, though we didn’t take all of our chances in the 26-14 win.

“Accordingly we have been working on a number of drills for the Border challenge.

“We have one or two changes, including the loss of centre Murray Mitchell who is representing Scotland in a sevens tournament in Australia.

“We wish him luck on that one, but we are well covered in that area of play and will bring Alex Ratcliffe into the midfield.”

Gala have top-four aspirations of their own and with home advantage will fancy their chances of recording a double over the Aberdeen side.

At Countesswells, Gordonians entertain Ardrossan Accies, who claimed the scalp last week of Glasgow Accies, hot favourites to be promoted from National League 3.

Although Gordonians head coach Ryan Morrice was confident his side could improve on the 17 – 17 draw they played out in Ayrshire earlier in the season.

Morrice said: “After our 89-3 rout of Dalziel last week, we are looking forward to the opportunity of moving up the league.

“It’s also another chance for captain and hooker Tom Williams to build on his tally of 18 tries.

“I don’t know what the record for a front row player is, but he can’t be far away from a record of some kind.

“Encouragingly we also have Sean Mills back in training after his long lay-off with a tendon injury. Having him back in the side for the run-in of our season would be a huge bonus. He is a quality player.”

Caley Division 1 bottom side Banff must take something out of their trip to Dunfermline if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation.

The race for the Caley 2 North title is still wide open, although Ellon look to be in the driving seat and will expect to beat Aberdeen University Medics before they take on second-placed Garioch next week.

In the meantime, the Inverurie side will be severely tested at Stonehaven where the meet the vastly improved Mackie FPs.

Caley 3 North leaders North Scotland Police must pick up maximum points at Huntly if they are to fend off Kinloss Eagles, who have a game in hand on the boys in blue and meet Gordonians 2nds at home.