SOMETHING will have to give at Malleny Park this afternoon as two of the three teams on maximum points, Currie Chieftains and Hawick, go head to head. The match between the two former champions is shaping up to be the clash of the season so far, and Currie coach Mark Cairns expects his team will have to improve on their form to date if they are to remain unbeaten at the end of the day.

“We will have to produce a more consistent and disciplined performance over the 80 minutes if we are to beat an impressive Hawick side,” he said. “Hawick have done really well to retain some key players over the summer and have recruited well, so their winning start to the league has not surprised me. The team has trained well this week and we know what Hawick will bring to the table. It’s teed up to be a great match.”

Currie winger Alex Harley is unavailable this week, so Cameron Meager starts. Hawick captain Shawn Muir, injured in the warm-up last week, is still out, and his place in the front row goes to the experienced Dale Johnstone.

“We have made an excellent start to the season,” Hawick coach George Graham said. “However, we are not getting ahead of ourselves. Mark will have his lads ready

for what I am sure will be a very competitive game. Malleny is a very tough place to grind out a win, so let’s see if we can buck the trend.”

Whatever is the outcome of a bruising battle at Malleny, Marr, the other team on ten points, look sure to be the beneficiaries as they visit bottom-of-the-table GHA. But needless to say, Marr coach Craig Redpath is taking nothing for granted. 

“I’m  pleased that we have got off to a good start with two wins from two, but we know there’s a lot of work we need to do to improve our performance,” he said. “We are coming into a run of tough matches and have to be playing at our best and the hard work continues on Saturday. 

“On our last visit to Braidholm we had a narrow win in a hard-fought, low-scoring contest. We need to be patient, ensure our defence is tight, and strike when the opportunity presents.”

GHA coach Trevor Carmichael has seen his squad experience a chastening baptism of fire, and hopes his players can steadily attain the consistency required to get results at this level. “We have had a tough couple of weeks,” he said. “We have learned a harsh lesson about Premiership rugby and what is required as a squad and individually. Marr is another huge test for us and our focus this week is to put in an 80-minute performance.

Glasgow Hawks enjoyed a morale-boosting win at home to Aberdeen Grammar last week after losing heavily to Selkirk on the opening day. Today they face an intriguing trip to Jed-Forest, who have lost both their games so far but picked up three points, averaging nearly 30 points a game.

“They have an exciting back line that can score at any time,” Hawks coach Andy Hill noted of his team’s opponents. “We will need to be at our best if we are to come away with a win.” The return to the back row of club captain Stephen Leckey makes it more likely that Hawks will be at their best, but they will have to be wary of a home team who showed real spirit to lose by only five points to Edinburgh Accies last week despite severe injury problems.

Accies themselves, meanwhile, make the short trip to Musselburgh, who are on zero points along with GHA. Despite losing to Hawick and Marr, however, Musselburgh appear to be learning quickly, and are another club who should start to pick up some decent results if only they can find some consistency over the whole game. 

Selkirk and Aberdeen Grammar, both on five points with a win apiece, meet at Philiphaugh. Only a big win would take either side into the top three, given the superior points differential that Currie, Hawick and Marr have already accumulated.