Grammar’s quality test as key duo moves away

Aberdeen Grammar's Doug Russell kicks past Callum Ramm.

The quality of Aberdeen Grammar’s squad depth will be shown following the departures of regular first-teamers Matt Arnold and Rob Ellinson.

Arnold is moving to Edinburgh and Ellinson to London, which will give an increased role to some of Grammar’s rotational players in the coming weeks.

Calum Ruxton, Doug Russell and Craig Shepherd are just three players picked out by head coach Ali O’Connor as having big roles to play in the remaining five league games.

Fourth place is still achievable for the Rubislaw side, with Grammar one of three clubs with a game in hand on Dundee HSFPs in fourth and just six points between them.

O’Connor said: “We’ve got a lot of depth this season and there are quite a few boys ready to step up. Calum Ruxton has not played much first-team rugby this season and he’s been a fairly standard fixture in the past.

“Doug Russell has been in and out of the team and he’s a quality performer, plus Craig Shepherd is a young player with big potential. There’s still a lot of competition.

“Colin Neilson, Calum Reddish and Ross Anderson can come into the front row so we have the depth to cover, even if we wish we didn’t have to because Matt and Rob have been big players for us.”

Grammar’s home game against Musselburgh this weekend was postponed on Thursday and could be re-arranged for next Saturday with O’Connor hoping for an early kick-off to allow players and supporters to watch Scotland’s Six Nations fixture against Ireland in Dublin.

Grammar 2nds are still due to play in Shetland tomorrow with flights and ferries already booked.

O’Connor added: “The only trouble is if the game is called off, we’ll have to ask the SRU nicely to cover the costs. The twos have got to win the game so hopefully it goes ahead.”

Players were excused training last night but managed an indoor session at Aberdeen Sports Village on Wednesday.

O’Connor hopes Musselburgh agree to push their next fixture back a week and come to Aberdeen next Saturday.

He said: “If we get the game done early, hopefully the supporters will be able to have a few beers in the clubhouse and watch the Scotland game. When we played Selkirk the crowd was significantly down because everyone was inside watching Scotland.”