BT Premiership 1

Match of the Day

Melrose v Boroughmuir

Melrose give competitive debuts to several new players against the champions at the Greenyards. Former Berwick and Newcastle Falcons man Andrew Skene is on the right wing, New Zealand sevens squad member Johnny Weston starts at full-back and All Blacks Under-21 prospect Jon Hopgood is at loose head. 'Muir manager Dave Barr said: ''There have been big changes here, but I believe we have not come out of the shake-up too badly, especially with the return of Graeme Kiddie, Angus Martyn, and Chris Capaldi.'' All three will play today, along with young winger Matt Morrell.

Forecast Melrose to hold sway

Heriot's v Hawick

Phil Smith, the Heriot's coach, has challenged his youngsters to take the club forward, starting with a victory over Hawick at Goldenacre. The Nails also welcome back Stuart Lang, who missed most of last season. Chris Sinclair gets his chance at prop for the injured Mike Welsh, while Jamie Osborne fills in at lock for Rab Barrie.

New signing Calum Farmer, starts on the right wing for Hawick, with former Worcester and Garryowen prop Dan O'Connell also in the line-up. There are comebacks for break-away forward Berry Keown and stand-off Scott Welsh.

Forecast Heriot's to thrive

Stirling County v GHA

Ian Jardine returns to the County line-up as they face GHA for the first time. Assistant coach Ian McLean said: ''The experience in midfield with Jardy and Ian Noble will be important.'' Both scrum-halves, Mark McMillan and Alan Roberston, are listed in the squad, as is Scotland Under-18 full-back Ben Addison.

GHA's new recruit from Australia, centre Ross West, has been forced to put his debut on hold because of a knee problem, while player-coach Andrew Plastow is sidelined with hamstring trouble. But there will be outings for No.8 Allan Brown, lock Ian Smith, and prop Gavin Blackburn against his old team.

Forecast County too strong for newcomers

Watsonians v Peebles

South African Rory Duncan has been handed the 'Sonians captaincy in the absence of the injured Graham Haley. There is also a belated debut for Kiwi lock Ryan Saunders, a year after rupturing his Achilles tendon. Other new starts include Jamie Blackwood, Steve Lawrie, Dan Wright, and Neil Cochrane.

The Peebles build-up was rocked by injury to first-choice scrum-half Drew Moore, who dislocated a shoulder playing for the Border League Select against the Borders pro-team. Medics say it will be six weeks before they know the extent of the damage. Moore is replaced by Graham Calder.

Forecast Watsons to get off to a flier

Glasgow Hawks v Ayr

New coach Peter Wright insists Hawks are in good shape for a tilt at the title. He said: ''Strength in depth will be the key, and we reckon we have 25 or 26 worthy players in our squad.'' Wright's large pool means he is not distressed at having to leave out minor injury-victims Wes Henry, Scott Hutton, and Steve Swindall. Steve Begley, who has been playing for associate club Glasgow Accies, is in line for a big-stage comeback.

Ayr coach George Breckenridge reports ''horrific'' injury problems. There is also a late fitness test for prop Leith Bruning, who has been drafted in to replace Joe Edwards..

Forecast Hawks to be too streetwise

Aberdeen GSFP v Currie

Aberdeen assistant coach Colin Robertson denied the departure of several front-liners would leave his squad weakened. He said: ''We have been developing some great young talent and this is when they can take their chance.'' Grammar will also have to wait another three weeks for the arrival of former Melrose playmaker Kacey Mitchell.

New Currie supremo Andy Nicol had no hesitation in picking out Rod Seib as the main danger to his team. He said: ''Rod is the best player I have seen in the current club scene. He could easily be a pro.''

Nicol's preparations have been hit by injury, too, and Currie will also give the youngsters an opportunity to make an early mark. They include lock Ryan McBride (nephew of the great Willie John) and full-back Ben Cairns.

Forecast Grammar will be favourites

BT Premiership 2

Jed-Forest v West of Scotland

With both being newcomers to Premier 2, both Jed and West share the same Premier 1 ambition, Jed to return whence they came, West to gain promotion two seasons in a row. Former Hawick hooker Gary Douglas has completed the long trek back from injury and starts for Jed as does centre Hamish Stewart, son of legendary All Black Ken, and ex-Victoria State stand-off Dale Roberson. ''We have lost a few players but we are confident that our squad will do well this season,'' said Jed president Gordon Hume. West, too, have a new No.10 in Kiwi Dean Moeahu, who is also coaching the backs and has made a big impact already. Assistant coach Peter Dow said: ''We have the core of last season's promotion side and are optimistic that, with last year's experience and the enthusiasm

of the side, we can do well in

Premier 2.''

Prediction Home advantage favours Jed

BT Premiership 3

Dunfermline v Hillhead/Jordanhill

With successful warm-ups behind them against Kirkcaldy, Kelso, and Fylde, Dunfermline are optimistic about the opener against last season's BT National League first division champions. ''We have ex-Stirling stand-off Wayne Barr in the side as well as Scottish schools flanker Duncan Hutton but the man to watch is veteran Murray Cross in the centre,'' said head selector Sandy Russell. Hills have the utility back Jared O'Donnell from Waikato in the line-up and A J McFarlane at No.9, part of what coach Bill McDonald described as ''virtually a new team this season but a team I know will be in contention for promotion.''

Prediction Hills to start with away win