Highland Rugby Club aiming for promotion as they kick off season on Saturday
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Highland Rugby Club want a place in the Premiership – and their top flight bid kicks off tomorrow when Ayr come calling to Canal Park.
Competitive rugby is back as Highland begin their National One campaign at home, with head coach Dave Carson aiming high.
Two seasons ago he led the team to a third place finish in their first year in the league, and he wants to get even higher up the table and be right in the promotion mix this time around.
“There’s no doubt we’re pushing to be up there,” he insisted.
“You want to win all your home games, and we’ve been pretty good at that over the last five or six years.
“We had one loss last year against Heriots, but we won all the other ones, so we’re looking to win all our home games and then see what we can do away from home.
“It can be pretty nip and tuck, but we want to push on.
“We’re a progressive club, everything is in line with the second and third team now, and everything is good upstairs with the committee.
“We want to play in the Premiership, without a doubt that’s where we want to get to.
“You don’t want to put yourself up to get knocked down, but you’ve got to put something in front of the guys to say ‘this is what we want’ and make sure we’re all going in the same direction.”
Home form will undoubtedly be key to any promotion push, and as Carson says Highland have a very strong record at Canal Park.
Part of that stems from the backing Highland get from supporters, and Carson hopes to hear plenty of noise from the sidelines tomorrow afternoon.
“We had a big crowd in for the friendlies, I know Aberdeen Grammar got a bit of a fright coming up and seeing the balcony full,” he explained.
“It will be buzzing, absolutely buzzing.
“Aberdeen are sort of our local rivals, and it was really buzzing around the pitch and up on the balcony a couple of weeks ago.
“It was fantastic to be back there and hearing the noise.
“Now we’re moving on to a competitive league game, I think it’s going to be electric.
“The boys are certainly really up for it, and hopefully we will give the supporters a right good show.”
Highland do have a couple of injuries to assess ahead of the weekend, with props Ewan Murray and Lewis Sinclair both suffering from issues in recent weeks, but Owen MacDonald and Benn Morris are in line to debut.