MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 1
BORDER REIVERS v CONNACHT, Netherdale, 7.30pm
Borders: Calum MacRae; Simon Danielli, Ben MacDougall, Garry Law, Nick De Luca; Gregor Townsend, Chris Cusiter (capt); Gavin Kerr, Ross Ford, Bruce Douglas, Craig Hamilton, Stuart Grimes, Kelly Brown, Scott Gray, Ross Beattie.
Replacements: Steve Scott, Ed Kalman, Opeta Palepoi, John Dalziel, Brendan McKerchar, Andy Miller, Steve Jones.
Connacht: Matt Mostyn; Conor McPhillips, Paul Warwick, Gavin Williams, Darren Yapp; Mark McHugh, Chris Keane; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Stephen Knoop, David Gannon, Andrew Farley, John Muldoon, Matt Lacey, Colm Rigney.
Replacements: John Fogarty, Michael Diffley, Michael Swift, Brendan O'Connor, Tom Tierney, Keith Matthews, Daniel Riordan.
Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)
Touch Judges: Iain Ramage, Bob Nevins (both Scotland)
PREVIOUS LEAGUE MEETINGS:
August 2002 - Borders 27 Connacht 28, Philiphaugh
October 2003 - Connacht 42 Borders 18, The Sportsground
March 2004 - Borders 40 Connacht 29, Netherdale
October 2004 - Connacht 29 Borders 27, The Sportsground
January 2005 - Borders 9 Connacht 18, Netherdale
September 2005 - Connacht 15 Borders 17, The Sportsground
March 2006 - Borders 9 Connacht 11, Netherdale
- The opening weekend fortunes of these two sides over the years cannot be more contrasting. Border Reivers are yet to win their first fixture, whilst Connacht, in five years of league play, have never failed to win their opening match
- The Reivers ended a six-match losing run in the league with a 43-5 home victory over the Dragons on the final day of last season. They have not beaten an Irish side at home since winning 29-16 against Leinster at Netherdale in January 2005
- Connacht also won their final league match of last season with a 33-7 victory over Glasgow Warriors in Galway. The last three matches between these two sides have been won by the away team on the day
- Connacht have scored an average of 24 points against the Scots in the seven matches they have played against them to date. Current vice captain Mark McHugh has scored in four of those fixtures, including a crucial haul of a drop goal and two penalties in the 2002 win
- The Reivers have only scored two tries in their last three outings against Connacht, as against the westerners' tally of five touchdowns