Ayr Aim To Put Knights To The Sword

Ayr head coach Kenny Murray today announced his squad for his side’s inaugural British and Irish Cup Pool D opener away against Doncaster Knights at Castle Park, Doncaster on Sunday (22 November, kick-off 2pm).

The Scottish Hydro Premier One champions will face some familiar opposition in the form of Doncaster’s Scotland A prop, Stuart Corsar, and former Edinburgh stand-off Ali Warnock who previously played alongside Ayr back-row, Andy Dunlop during the pair’s time at Biggar.

Ayr head coach Kenny Murray today announced his squad for his side’s inaugural British and Irish Cup Pool D opener away against Doncaster Knights at Castle Park, Doncaster on Sunday (22 November, kick-off 2pm).

The Scottish Hydro Premier One champions will face some familiar opposition in the form of Doncaster’s Scotland A prop, Stuart Corsar, and former Edinburgh stand-off Ali Warnock who previously played alongside Ayr back-row, Andy Dunlop during the pair’s time at Biggar.

Competition rules dictate that just two of Ayr’s three overseas players are available for selection, forcing Murray to rest stand-off Frazier Climo, who’s expected to feature against Rotherham at Millbrae the following weekend (Friday 27 November, Millbrae, kick-off 8pm).

Further changes see Dougie Steele come in at full-back while Scotland 7s internationalist, Grant Anderson, moves to centre and Ross Curle steps into the vacant stand-off slot.

Ayr’s three associated professional players (Ed Kalman, Hamish Mitchell and Pat MacArthur) have all been named in the squad.

Murray agreed that excitement was building among the players who had been looking forward to the cross-border tussle.

He said: "We know that this will be a massive challenge for us because they have claimed scalps like Bristol earlier in the season. They are a big, strong, physical side but we hope to compete with them since we have our fair share of physical players in our squad.

"We have been described recently as a big game side and as we have shown in the past we can rise to the occasion and this is the biggest occasion for Ayr since we won the title last season.

“Although it is unknown territory and on paper it is professionals against amateurs, on the field we intend to give a very good account of ourselves and Scottish rugby.

"We are under no real pressure since we seem to go into this one as underdogs so we will go out to enjoy the game and learn from the experience then bring that back for our home game against Rotherham and our Scottish Hydro Premier 1 campaign.

Ayr captain, Damien Kelly, added: "We are really looking forward to our trip to Doncaster this weekend. The British and Irish Cup is a new competition and we're playing in it as a result of our achievements last season and it gives the players a chance to test themselves against professional teams that makes it both interesting and exciting. We're going to enjoy the experience, learn from it and play to our best. There's a real buzz in the squad and everyone knows they're playing not just to represent Ayr RFC but Scottish Rugby too."

AYR TEAM TO PLAY DONCASTER KNIGHTS AT CASTLE PARK, DONCASTER (KICK-OFF 2PM)

15 Dougie Steele

14 Andy Wilson
13 Grant Anderson
12 Mark Stewart
11 Cammy Taylor

10 Ross Curle
9 Jamie Hunter

1 Gordon Sykes
2 Pat McArthur
3 Hamish Mitchell
4 Damien Kelly CAPTAIN
5 Scott Sutherland
6 John Crossan
7 Paul Burke
8 Andy Dunlop

REPLACEMENTS
16 Stuart Fenwick
17 Ed Kalman
18 Gordon Reid
19 Scott Nimmo
20 Glen Tippett
21 AJ McFarlane
22 Steven Manning

BRITISH AND IRISH CUP POOLS

POOL A
Cornish Pirates
Exeter Chiefs
Gael Force
Leinster
Newport
Plymouth Albion 
POOL B
Bristol Rugby
Coventry
Heriot's
Munster
Neath
Nottingham 
POOL C
Aberavon
Bedford
Lnanelli
London Welsh
Mosley
Ulster  
POOL D
Ayr
Birmingham & Solihull
Cardiff
Doncaster Knights
Pontypridd
Rotherham Titans 

AYR’S POOL D FIXTURE LIST FOR THE BRITISH & IRISH CUP

Sunday 22 November – Doncaster Knights v Ayr, Castle Park (kick-off 2pm)
Friday 27 November – Ayr v Rotherham Titans, Millbrae (kick-off 8pm)
Saturday 13 February – Ayr v Birmingham & Solihull, Milbrae (kick-off 4pm)
Saturday 27 February – Ayr v Pontypridd, Millbrae (kick-off 3pm)
Saturday 6 March – Cardiff v Ayr, Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 2.30pm)