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Rugby: Aberdeen Grammar hope home game and new backs coach impact can bring result against Falkirk

Grammar return to Rubislaw amid a punishing schedule of away matches in National Two.

Aberdeen Grammar rugby team in action
Aberdeen Grammar are back in action at Rubislaw on Saturday, Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson.

After two away defeats in a row Aberdeen Grammar are hoping home comforts can help them when they take on Falkirk in National Two on Saturday.

When Grammar defeated Berwick at Rubislaw on October 14, it looked like their first win of 2023-24 would create some momentum.

Since then, however, they have lost out at home to city rivals Gordonians, and were then defeated on the road by Stewart’s Melville and Stirling County.

They did earn four try bonus points in their last two games, but are ninth in the table – just two points better off than bottom club Berwick.

This weekend’s visitors Falkirk are in third place and beat Grammar 62-36 back in September.

Ahead of their Rubislaw meeting, Aberdeen Grammar head coach Eric Strachan said:  “The lads are looking forward to a home game in the middle of a run of away fixtures (after this they go to Peebles and Lasswade).

“The determination to pick up points continues and the introduction of a new backs coach in the shape of Marc Muir has injected some fresh ideas into the group and he will be a valuable addition to the coaching team.

“He has moved up from working with the youth section and is an additional coach to assist in getting the backline firing.”

For this game, Dan McElderry retains the stand-off berth, while Josh Ferguson returns at full-back.

Mark Galloway and Youssef Salem also return to bolster Grammar’s pack.

‘Frustrated’ Gordonians also look for return to winning ways after drop to fifth

In the same division, Gordonians are looking to get back to winning ways down at Kirkcaldy.

The home reverse to Peebles six days ago left Gordonians fifth in the table, while Kirkcaldy are eighth.

“We are looking to re-group after a poor performance last week,” Gordonians head coach Ryan Morrice said.

“The players are frustrated, but there was a lot of energy and intensity from them on Tuesday night at training and as coaches we couldn’t have asked for a better response.

“We don’t have the best of records at Kirkcaldy, but we have shown we can play well on the road after some good away wins already this season.

“There will be some changes in the pack due to the red card last weekend, and we have lost Rollo Press to a concussion, but we have every confidence in the players stepping up.”

Defeat to Watsonians has been ‘parked’ – Highland coach Carson

Another side looking to bounce back are Highland in National One.

It was a frustrating day for them in Edinburgh as they were defeated by Watsonians last Saturday, but they are still second in the table and their home form is excellent.

This Saturday, they welcome sixth-placed GHA – a side who beat them in Glasgow in September – to Canal Park.

“We have parked the defeat to Watsonians pretty quickly and the guys are fully focused on the GHA game and they love playing at home,” Highland head coach Dave Carson said.

Highland head coach Davie Carson. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.

“Euan Milton and Gordon Gregor are back in the pack and that will give everyone a boost.”

Co-captain Callum Carson went off injured last time out and has been working hard with the Highland physios in a bid to make the GHA game.

Orkney hope to head for Howe of Fife en masse for crucial clash

Meanwhile, as part of the “president’s trip”, all sponsors, coaches, committee members, helpers and supporters of Orkney have been invited to travel down to the big National Three clash at Howe of Fife.

Orkney, in second, are looking to make it 10 wins out of 10, while third-placed Howe have also been in great form of late.

Orkney skipper Liam Moar said: “We’re travelling with a full-strength squad for what will arguably be one of the toughest fixtures of the season.

“Howe are coming off of a six-game winning streak and at home will be stiff opposition.

“Our squad has been working very hard at training and we’ve had a great start to the season ourselves, so we are confident that, if we play our best, we can come away with a result.

“We’re also hoping for some good Orkney support at the pitch side.”

Fourth-placed Mackie host North Conference leaders Aberdeenshire in Caledonia One, while Garioch have a home game against Hillhead Jordanhill in the women’s Premiership.

“The squad are looking forward to playing at home, having been away for the last three weeks,” Garioch head coach Dave Duguid said.