Hawick are aiming to set the standard for the rest of the season when they kick off the BT Cup tomorrow against Marr at Mansfield Park.
Foremost on the agenda, Hawick want to defeat Marr and move into the third round of the BT Cup for a third successive year, but there is an added incentive to vanquish their Ayrshire opponents as the two sides could square off in next April’s relegation/promotion play-off game.
Marr currently sit second in BT National Division One, behind Edinburgh Accies on points difference, while the Greens occupy ninth in the Premiership.
A lot can change in six months, but Greens club captain Bruce McNeil, while admitting relegation is not on his mind at this point, knows a win on Saturday not only helps build momentum for a tough league campaign, but also provides his side with a possible edge if the two sides were to meet at the winner-take-all end of the season showdown.
“Marr are near the top of their division and playing winning rugby that we don’t currently have,” said McNeil.
“They come to us confident so we are going to have to be at our best. Cup games are knock-out so we’re treating every one as a cup final because we want to build a nice run in this tournament that transitions into success in the league.
“For us to have a successful second half to the season that gets us out of the relegation area we need to be playing with an attacking mindset, playing without any fear of relegation and focusing on the things we have been working hard on in training. That starts Saturday.
“There is an added factor with Marr being where they are in their division we could meet again if we don’t find a way out of the relegation places. While I am not really paying it much thought right now a win now could give us an edge if we were to face each other again.”
In BT Border Shield, Hawick Harlequins travel to face Langholm, while Linden make the short trip to face Gala YM at Netherdale.