BT Premiership PREVIEW | Top four in action to open 2018

BT Premiership leaders, Melrose, host reigning champions, Ayr, this Saturday (6 January, kick-off 2pm) in a weekend of intriguing ties.

The home team are yet to drop points as they aim to maintain their winning form into 2018 while Ayr will be eager to make up ground on the leaders and make a statement to the rest of the chasing pack after a narrow loss to Currie Chieftains in their last league match.

The sides have met twice this season so far with the Greenyards club coming out on top on both occasions.

Melrose Head Coach, Rob Chrystie, said: “Ayr, by their own high standards, have had a tough season so far.But they are still well placed in the top four and, with key players likely to be back from injury, are sure to come down to Melrose in buoyant mood.

“After another short break in the BT Premiership we are looking forward to playing against last year’s champions at the Greenyards.”

Edinburgh’s Ali Miller starts at number-8 for Melrose while Dan Elkington earns a start and James Head returns to the squad after recovering from injury.

The visitors pack remains unchanged but, in the backline, David Armstrong and Frazier Climo return from injury alongside George Hunter who joins the bench.

Ayr Head Coach, Calum Forrester, said: “Melrose have been the outstanding side in the Premiership this season and they have maintained that form over the festive break with the games that they have played.

The players were hurting after our last result against Currie and are looking forward to the challenge at the Greenyards this weekend.”

Elsewhere, Hawick host second-place Heriot’s as they aim to keep the pressure on the other teams in the bottom half of the table and climb above the automatic relegation spot.

Boroughmuir sit just two points ahead of the Borderers, with a game in hand, and will be hoping to increase their advantage when they travel to face Currie Chieftains.

Watsonians welcome Marr in the remaining game as the Edinburgh team look to keep their play-off hopes alive.

Melrose v Ayr will be live-tweeted from @Scotlandteam.

Clubs from across BT National Leagues 1, 2 and 3 will also continue their season on Saturday. For a full list of fixtures, visit scottishrugby.org.

Melrose v Ayr, The Greenyards, 2pm

Melrose: Fraser Thomson; Ross McCann, Nyle Godsmark, Craig Jackson, George Taylor; Jason Baggott, Bruce Colvine; Dan Elkington, Russel Anderson, Nick Beavon, Angus Runciman, Ian Moody, Ruaridh Knott, Grant Runciman CAPTAIN, Ali Miller

Replacements: Richard Ferguson, Ruairi Mcleod, James Head, Rory Darge, Gavin Wood

Ayr: Grant Anderson; Paddy Dewhirst, Scott Lyle, Stafford McDowall, Craig Gossman; Frazier Climo, David Armstrong; Robin Hislop, Robbie Smith, Steven Longwell, Blair Macpherson, Rob McAlpine, Tommy Spinks, George Stokes, Pete McCallum CAPTAIN

Replacements:Ruairidh Sayce, George Hunter, Jonathan Agnew, Harry Warr, Matt Davidson

BT Premiership - Saturday 6 January

Currie Chieftains v Boroughmuir, Malleny Park, 2.30pm

Watsonians v Marr, Myreside, 3pm

Hawick v Heriot’s, Mansfield Park, 3pm