5 talking points from the Tennent’s Premiership play-off semi-finals

Ayr and Heriot's throughly deserve Grand Final spots but full credit to Melrose and Currie Chieftains for their resilience over the course of the season

Blair Macpherson
Ayr flanker Blair Macpherson attempts to shake off opposite number Ruaridh Knott during Saturday's tense Tennent's Premiership play-off semi-final clash at Millbrae. Image: ©Fotosport/David Gibson
  • An injury time penalty-try is a hell of a way for reigning champions to lose their title, and any debate on whether the decision to award that decisive score was correct is bound to end in stalemate – but Ayr deserve huge credit for that late, late rally – and over the course of the match (and the season) they are absolutely the team which should be hosting the Grand Final.


  • Melrose came into this season with a reduced squad and in many ways they have been victims of their own recent success in preparing players to step up to the pro game [five last season]. They have also been decimated by injuries, ending up without Fraser Thomson, Craig Jackson, Grant Runciman, Ruaridh Knott, Rory Darge, Neil Irvine-Hess and Russell Anderson, among others, for long and significant chunks of the campaign. So the players and coaching staff deserve huge credit for hanging in there to make it as far as they did. Last season they had the best group of players in the league, this season took real guts.


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  • While Currie Chieftains were second best on Saturday at Goldenacre, they again showed the determination in adversity that has served them so well recently. The Malleny club will lose several players from the squad that finished third in the league – the only non-Super-6 side to get into the play-offs – but they will not lose the spirit behind their long and remarkable rise. Is it too early to instal them as firm favourites to win the Premiership next season? Probably not.


  • Four-figure crowds at both Goldenacre and Millbrae showed there is still a sizeable audience for the club game despite the way in which the product has been talked down by the governing body over the past couple of years. The fact that the revamped SRU website carried previews of both semi-finals was at least a step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen how much publicity next season’s Premiership gets from the same outlet once Super 6 starts up.

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About David Barnes 3989 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.