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Highland Rugby Club head coach Dave Carson says first ever win away at Melrose would be the perfect early Christmas present

By Alasdair Fraser

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Dave Carson admits a landmark first victory at The Greenyards would be the perfect festive gift for Highland heading into the New Year.

It is the last National One venue where the Inverness club is yet to win, with an epic 27-21 defeat to Melrose there last season.

Highland, in action at Canal Park against Melrose last year, have never won at The Greenyards. Picture: James Mackenzie
Highland, in action at Canal Park against Melrose last year, have never won at The Greenyards. Picture: James Mackenzie

Carson and his players are relishing the return trip.

“We’ve had some close calls at The Greenyards,” he said. “The first year less so, but the last twice we’ve been down it has been very tight, with less than a score in it.

“With the way we’re playing, we certainly looking forward to it. Hopefully everyone is fit and the game will be on given the plastic pitch. I’d expect some good, running rugby.

“It is the one place we haven’t managed to win yet in National One, the last one to tick off the bucket list, and it would be a nice wee Christmas present if we got the win.”

Last year, it was Highland playing catch-up as the teams clashed.

This year the roles are reversed with fourth-top Melrose five points behind second-placed Highland, who drew 15-15 at home to Bigger last weekend.

A pack of four or five teams are sitting just behind the Canal Park side, hoping to catch them.

“Just looking at the other teams playing, we’re down to four points between ourselves two of the chasing pack,” Carson added.

“If we can take four or five points away from Melrose it would set us in a nice place heading into New Year.”

Carson is looking for his players to put the opposition under greater pressure in their own half.

Euan Milton could be unavailable through work, which may allow young Dylan Monk to earn a first start.

“Dylan is only 20, a big lad from Fort William, who has been on and off the bench – he might get a start in second row,” Carson confirmed.

“He has really impressed. He’s a massive unit and good ball-carrier and defender, so we might blood him.”

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