Marr Rugby - senior squad selections for 2 September 2017
BT Premiership: Glasgow Hawks v Marr Rugby (2pm kick-off at Scotstoun)
BT National Reserve: Marr Rugby v GHA RFC (3pm kick-off at Fullarton)
The waiting is finally over as we get back into rugby action for season 2017/18. Having gained promotion last season the 1s and 2s step up a gear and into a relatively unknown world and the players and coaches are under no illusions on just how tough a challenge they will face. The same will apply to our 3s when they get into league action – unfortunately their start is put back a week after the scheduled fixture was cancelled after their opposition were unable to raise a team.
Pre-season preparation has been intense and the increasing numbers of players competing for a starting place in the three senior sides is healthy and vital as it helps push up performance. The physical intensity and demands that playing in these higher leagues will bring means we need as many players as possible ready and able to play in any of the sides.
This season Marr Rugby supporters have an even greater role to play and contribution to make. Their presence on the touchline is a must.
Marr’s players have worked hard to get to this point and chapter in club history. We know it’s going to be our most challenging season to date and we know that they are ready to give it a go.
All supporters need to get behind our teams this year, so make yourself available for the trip to Scotstoun to support our 1st XV in our first ever Premiership game! If the trip to Glasgow is too far then head to Fullarton to support our 2nd XV!
Marr Rugby 1st XV preview: Saturday’s test against Hawks has some added spice and presents an even greater challenge for Marr’s debut in the top flight. Last season Hawks finished in third spot and were comfortable winners in two previous encounters against Marr when they met in cup competition. The test against Hawks will give us a good yardstick to help us get a sense of our progress and what needs to be done to perform in the top tier.
The extra zing comes from team selection with Hawks benefiting from the inclusion of two pro-draft players in their starting line-up (George Horne (Scotland 7s and Glasgow Warriors) and Paddy Kelly (Glasgow Warriors). We were initially notified that Greg Peterson would be available from our draft but he was recalled to join the Warriors squad travelling to play Connacht.
Selection of the first playing squad has been helped and challenged by the fact that all of the senior players are fit and have been performing well in training and the pre-season fixtures. The good thing emerging from this is it helps strengthen the 2s and have a further knock-on effect.
Five players will make their debut for Marr (three in the starting line-up): Kaleem Baretto (BT Academy - Perthshire and Dundee); Toby Buchanan (Kerikeri, GHA and Hutchesons’ Grammar); Kyle Hatherall (Sharks U21); Ross Jackson (BT Academy - Biggar) and Ross Miller (Glasgow Hawks).
Richard Dalgleish (Ayr) is a debutant at senior level but previously played for Marr at youth level.
Tom Steven joins Ross Miller in making a return to face his former side.
After some very good performances Ollie Rossi gets the nod over Stephen Adair and will start at hooker.
Angus Johnston (22), retains the captaincy for a second season and is joined in this leadership role by Conor Bickerstaff who has been appointed vice-captain.
Marr Rugby 1st XV team selection
15. Craig Kolarik
14. Scott Bickerstaff
13. Conor Bickerstaff
12. Colin Sturgeon
11. Richard Dalgleish
10. Dougie Steele
9. Kaleem Baretto
1. Andrew Acton
2. Ollie Rossi
3. William Farquhar
4. Kyle Hatherall
5. Ewan Bulger
6. Mackenzie Pearce
8. Ross Miller
7. Angus Johnston ©
16. Stephen Adair
17. Chris Nisbet
18. Ross Jackson
19. Toby Buchanan
20. Tom Steven
Marr Rugby 2nd XV preview: GHA arrive at Fullarton buoyed by some excellent pre-season results, including a comfortable win against Ayr. They regular end up featuring in the top three places in the league so Marr’s 2nd XV have an early opportunity to get a sense of what life in NL2 is going to be like.
The importance of having a strong group of players competing for places in the senior sides is a key to Marr’s success. The 2s have followed the lead shown by the 1s in progressing upwards and into higher leagues and tougher competition. This direction needs to be maintained and we now have a playing squad of approaching 50 players, many of whom are challenging to play in our top club side and who are prepared to work hard and improve to achieve this goal.
With the demands the 1s and 2s will face and likely attrition rate through injury and other unavailability we need big numbers of players ready and able to play at all levels. Consequently some players will routinely feature in either the 1s or 2s squads. Getting game time is important to help ensure match readiness, sharpness and fitness
In the final pre-season match the 2s had a good runout against Falkirk but know they need to build on this performance.
Head coach Keith Dunsmuir has named his starting line-up. Josh Evans retains the captaincy. Marr College school leaver Mac McInnes and new player Max Freydell will make their competitive debuts. Max, along with young player of the year Gregor Paxton, will be a welcome asset as they, along with others, lay down a marker for the senior coaching team as they compete for a starting berth in the 1st XV.
Last year’s school leavers Craig Baird, Blair Campbell, Danny McCulloch and Callum Steel continue to impress and show improvement.
In addition to the talented youngster there are also four Marr 1st XV Centurions in the starting line-up - Fraser Ferguson, Fraser Grant, Gregor Ness and Kyle Vallance. Their experience and ability will help strengthen the 2s side and again they will be out to impress on the coaches their readiness to step up.
Marr Rugby 2nd XV team selection:
15. Stuart Howie
14. Murray Beckwith
13. Gregor Paxton
12. Andrew Mill
11. Mac McInnes
10. Max Freydell
9. Gregor Ness
8. Josh Evans (c)
7. Danny Clark
6. Kyle Vallance
5. Fraser Grant
4. Callum Craig
3. Fraser Ferguson
2. Blair Campbell
1. Neil Wallace
16. Danny McCulloch
17. Bob Hill
18. Callum Steel
19. Ali Hazel
20. Chris Galloway
Once again - all supporters need to get behind our teams this year, so make yourself available for the trip to Scotstoun to support our 1st XV in our first ever Premiership game! If the trip to Glasgow is too far then head to Fullarton to support our 2nd XV!
Updated 11:31 - 8 Sep 2017 by Billy Bate