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Rugby: Highland eyeing late charge up to fifth place in National 1

Davie Carson in Highland rugby hat and jacket
Highland head coach Davie Carson.

Highland head coach Davie Carson is determined to keep up his side’s charge for a fifth-placed finish in National 1 this season.

The Inverness outfit are seventh in the table at present, following a 47-21 victory over Stirling Wolves last weekend.

Back-to-back home games against bottom-two sides Cartha Queen’s Park and Boroughmuir are up next, before Highland finish their season away to third-placed Biggar.

Given Highland have games in hand over all the teams above them, boss Carson is confident his side can make strides up the table.

Carson said: “I said to the players before last week that we need 15 points from our three home games. We will see what we can get at Biggar.

“We could get up to fifth place if results go our way and we do our job. It has certainly given us something to strive for.

“Finishing just before Melrose, Heriot’s and Gala wouldn’t be a bad place to be. I would be pretty pleased with the way we have performed if we can get that far up the league.”

Highland in clinical mood against Stirling Wolves

Carson was thrilled to build on Patrick Ratumaisese’s first-minute try to run out comfortable winners over Stirling, in his side’s first home game since March 5.

Patrick Ratumaisese in action for Highland.

He added: “The boys have travelled far and worked really hard, and they haven’t got any reward for it.

“It was really pleasing to see things click, we scored some cracking tries. We started really well for a change, which isn’t like us. We scored a try in the first minute.

“We got a wee bit loose after that, thinking it was going to be a bit of a run-in.

“We tightened things up and managed to get five tries before half-time. I was really pleased with the way we played.”

Carson keen to rotate squad

Highland will draft in Grant Jamieson to replace Erem Demirel, who is unavailable for the remainder of the campaign.

Carson is keen to hand some of the club’s Caledonia North 2 title-winning seconds an opportunity, and hopes to include Rory Mighton against Cartha after Alex Macdonald played the second half against Stirling.

Canal Park, Inverness, the home of Highland Rugby Club.

The Highland head coach says his players will be motivated following their 24-20 away loss to Saturday’s opponents in October.

He added: “That’s one of three games during the season that still sticks in the throat.

“If we had these ones in the bag, we would have been challenging for third or fourth place.

“It was on the back of a home win against Melrose. As far as I was concerned, it was a mental thing, with some of the players thinking they had beaten a big club like that at home so they would beat Cartha.

“As I have said before, that doesn’t happen in this league. You have got to perform every week to get results.

“They are fighting to stay in National 1, so they will come up here and they won’t want to go down without a squeal.

“It certainly won’t be an easy game. They have a big pack of forwards and they’re a great scrummaging side. We have to control that and hopefully get it out to the backs and get some tries on like last week.”

 

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