KIERAN Cooney has stressed that nothing will be decided this weekend in the race for promotion to rugby’s national leagues.

Haddington, top of East League Division One, welcome Hawick Harlequins, their nearest rivals and the only team to beat them in the league this season, to Neilson Park on Saturday afternoon.

Both sides will have another seven fixtures to contest when the final whistle blows after 3.30pm on Saturday but the winners will have taken another big step towards National League Division Three.

Cooney (pictured), Haddington’s head coach, said: “Obviously, it is first versus second place and that adds to the spice of it.

“It is week on week for us and when we get to the end of January or February and we have played another four or five more games, we will have a discussion round the league and where we might finish up.

“It is a big game for everything that comes with it.

“We were disappointed with the performance there and think we have got a few things to address – that is probably the best I can sum it up.”

The Borders side were 32-29 winners in the reverse fixture in September.

Since then, Haddington have been unbeaten in the league as they sit top by three points.

Cooney stressed that there had been some hard contests along the way and he expected more of the same between now and the end of the season.

He said: “I think attacking wise, Hawick Harlequins are definitely up there.

“Broughton surprised us and they were a decent strong side and came at us reasonably well.

“Hawick Harlequins were fairly strong and Royal High were another team that probably pushed us to the limit before we won 15-10.

“There are a few teams in the league that I don’t think would be out of place in National Three having been involved there last year.

“Hawick Harlequins are a good, strong side and we have got some big games in the weeks afterwards with Broughton the following week and Linlithgow and Royal High after that.

“They come thick and fast.”

The head coach was expecting a physical encounter on Saturday between two sides who get the ball wide and go at their opposition.

Win, lose or draw, Cooney was pleased to say the club was in a healthy place, with a greater number of players attending training and getting involved.

Ahead of Saturday’s 2pm kick-off, he said: “The biggest satisfaction is the club is putting out two teams.

“We are getting 28 or 29 at training each week and we have to have conversations, difficult conversations, with players around selection.

“That is a complete contrast from last season and a really good position to be in.”