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Highland Rugby Club facing make or break spell in National One promotion bid with four consecutive away matches, says head coach Dave Carson

By Andrew Henderson

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Highland Rugby Club’s upcoming games will make or break the first team’s season, according to head coach Dave Carson.

Starting with Dundee tomorrow, Highland have four away games in-a-row to contend with in National One, a run that also takes them to Watsonians, Heriots and Biggar.

Those last two currently occupy the top two positions in the league table, and with just one promotion place up for grabs for the champions Carson says more defeats than victories over the next few weeks would all-but-mathematically take Highland out of contention for a Premiership place next season.

“If we don’t gain anything out of these, that will be our promotion hopes over,” Carson reasoned.

“If we can keep picking up four points away from home, we’re still going to be in the mix with our home games to come.

Dave Carson says the next few weeks will be a crucial period for Highland's promotion hopes. Picture: Callum Mackay
Dave Carson says the next few weeks will be a crucial period for Highland's promotion hopes. Picture: Callum Mackay

“It’s very important, probably the biggest spell we’ve had in a long time.

“We need to keep the momentum and attitudes right, obviously there’s travelling involved but we’re used to that.

“If we can get off to a good start against Dundee, that will give us momentum going into the next couple of games.”

First off, Highland have to focus on a Dundee team that fought all the way at Canal Park.

Back at the start of October, Highland finished the match with 13 men, but still managed to hold on for a 19–15 victory.

“For the last eight or nine minutes, we were digging it out on our own line trying not to concede,” Carson recalled.

“We got away from them a wee bit, and then they tagged us back – they just never gave up.

“They are on you for the full 80 minutes, a very dogged side, and it will be exactly the same if not a bit harder on their own patch.”

Highland will be boosted by two returns this weekend, as Rupeni Rokoduguni and Rory Cross both come back into the side to add a bit of experience to the back line.

Carson had hoped to get Grant Jamieson involved in the forwards too, but he picked up a head knock playing for the Raptors last weekend, so a late decision was due to be made on his fitness last night.

Highland's second and third teams have both seen their matches this weekend get called off as Scottish Rugby extended their waiver allowing clubs to postpone games due to the high levels of Covid-19 without incurring any penalties.

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