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Highland tasked with maintaining high level in National One

By Andrew Henderson

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Dave Carson’s focus this week has been on making sure that Highland Rugby Club’s win over Melrose last week was not the peak of their powers with a come down to inevitably follow.

Rugby. Highland v Heriot Blues..Coach Dave Carson..Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No..
Rugby. Highland v Heriot Blues..Coach Dave Carson..Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No..

With such a big name in the annals of Scottish rugby making the journey north to Canal Park as league leaders, it was a big occasion for everyone involved at Highland last time out, and they managed to rise to it well to secure a 26–20 victory.

Tomorrow sees a different challenge for Carson’s men, though, as it is their turn to go on the road to a Cartha Queens Park side sitting second bottom of the National One table.

So Carson will be attempting to ensure that Highland’s levels do not drop when away from a home in a slightly less glamorous fixture to continue their own push for promotion.

“The big onus to the players after the game was telling them to remember how tired they are, because that’s the level of effort they have to put in every week, home or away, and if not we’ll slip up,” he reasoned.

“Some of them were out on their feet by the end of it, but they kept going and stayed really focused and disciplined, so it was fantastic. We gave away very few penalties – it has to be that every time, Cartha will be no different.

“It’s going to be just as hard down in Glasgow as it was against Melrose. They might not be such a good side, but they’re on their own turf, so we’ve got to concentrate and put the same effort and commitment in that we did against Melrose and Heriots.

“When a big team comes up, we probably do raise our game, but we’ve got to raise it every week.”

One thing Highland will have to adjust to is a grass pitch, with Carson adding: “We’ve trained on grass to prepare ourselves for it.

“We’re used to a dry, firm surface every week at Canal Park, so that’s something that we’re going to have to look at this week and before the Biggar game next week as well.

“It will be slower, the bounce of the ball will obviously be different, if it gets wet it’s harder going for the forwards in the pack to get going and the backs will not be as quick across the ground.”

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