Stirling County begin their 2015/16 BT Premiership campaign at Currie on Saturday 29th August – with an early kick-off at Malleny Park of 1pm (to avoid clash with Scotland international at Murrayfield).

County will be seeking to improve on last season’s disappointing 9th place league finish, and have freshened up and strengthened the playing squad over the summer period, as the Bridgehaugh club aim for a top-four finish in an increasingly competitive BT Premiership.

County have a new Head Coach in David Adamson, a former stand-off at Bridgehaugh, who has developed his coaching skills with Edinburgh University.

In addition County have recruited second-row forward Callum Hunter-Hill, a promising lock in the Ally Kellock/Grant Gilchrist mould; Callum has just returned from New Zealand where he was part of the prestigious McPhail Scholarship, which in the past has provided County players Kevin Bryce, Adam Ashe, Grant Gilchrist and Finn Russell with opportunities to develop into International players.

Stocky powerful New Zealand centre Nick Griggs joins County as a partnership player with Glasgow Warriors, while Mike Dewar and Matt Donaldson are coming to Bridgehaugh as Elite Development Players from the Wasps Academy and Millfield School respectively.

Promising scrum halves Luke Earl-Wright and Patrick Nicol have come down from Aberdeen to Stirling.

County have also recruited experienced overseas players from New Zealand in pacey fleet-footed full back/wing Dylan Takiri Taikato-Simpson, stand-off Shaun Treweek and the powerful back row forward Vaka Manu, who is the brother of Edinburgh’s Nasi Manu.

Head Coach Adamson said: “We have looked to continue the tradition at County of promoting our own youth players, and who will still make up the majority of the 1st XV squad.

“The club will never rely on bringing in too many players from other clubs and from overseas; however, we recognise the fact that to hopefully get to the next level, we need to supplement these local players with some experience from overseas.

“The 1st XV has a youthful look to it, but the majority of players have Premiership and Scotland age-group experience, and we are looking forward to the edge and confidence that the overseas boys will hopefully bring to the squad.

Davie added “We have placed a big emphasis on the conditioning of our players, bringing in Phil Maguire from The University of Edinburgh as Strength & Conditioning coach, to oversee this during pre-season. It has been pretty tough at times for the players, but they seem to be enjoying and buying into it.” Leaving Bridgehaugh are scrum-half Ali Price and centre Archie Russell, who have both joined Ayr, Matt Smith who has gone to Glasgow Hawks and prop Jamie Bhatti who is now at Melrose.

County warmed-up for the new season with matches in recent weeks against Edinburgh Accies, Dundee and Stewart’s Melville, which have provided useful run-outs for the squad which is well-prepared and ready for the forthcoming league challenge, starting at Currie on Saturday.

County’s first home BT Premiership match is against newly-promoted Selkirk on Saturday 5th September – kick-off at Bridgehaugh is 3pm.

Members are reminded that pre-match lunches are available before all County’s 1st XV home BT Premiership matches, with the first lunch of the season on Saturday 5 September before the County v Selkirk match. Cost is £15 for members / £25 for non-members (includes match admission, programme and seat in stand) – please contact Alastair Cunningham or the Club Office on 01786-478866 to reserve your place as soon as possible.