Super Series Sprint: Southern Knights stay positive during tough campaign

Flanker Allan Ferrie insists that Borderers are headed in the right direction despite five defeats on the bounce

Allan Ferrie in action for Southern Knights versus Edinburgh A. Image: Rob Gray
Allan Ferrie in action for Southern Knights versus Edinburgh A. Image: Rob Gray

SOUTHERN KNIGHTS will continue to put in the hard yards this coming weekend as they search for their first Super Series Sprint win of 2023, and one of their players who is certainly not afraid of rolling up his sleeves on and off the pitch is in-form back-rower Allan Ferrie.

On the pitch, the Newton Stewart product has been one of the Knights most consistent performers since he joined the part-time professional outfit ahead of the 2021 Championship campaign.

Off the pitch, the 23-year-old regularly starts his working day on his family-run farm in Newcastleton at 5.30am and makes the two hour round trip to training at The Greenyards for evening training.


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“Some of my days can be busy, but I am used to that,” Ferrie, who was named at openside in The Offside Line round five team-of-the-week, said.

“I grew up in a farming family in Wigtown so I have been involved in that farming way of life for years while I used to travel back and forth from Edinburgh when I was studying there to play for Newton Stewart.

“Clocking up the miles is just something that goes with the territory when you are from the part of the world I’m from and at least during this Sprint season I have Craig Bachurzewski to share lifts with because he lives in Bonchester Bridge.”

There is no getting away from the fact that the Sprint has been a tough tournament for the Knights so far. They have lost five games from five to sit bottom of the table, scoring 88 points and conceding 206 in the process.

Their final regular season outing is at home to Boroughmuir Bears on Saturday evening and they will want to get a confidence-boosting win under their belts before taking on the same side in the 5th/6th place play-off the following weekend.

“It has been a hard few weeks results-wise, but the heads have never gone down and we are all really enjoying being in this environment,” Ferrie, who has scored tries against Heriot’s and Edinburgh Rugby A, said.

“The coaching staff and support staff have been excellent with us and the boys are training hard every week and looking to improve. We have a number of young players in the group and have had a few injuries, but everyone is learning as we go along and, as a group, we are determined to play well in the next two weeks.

 

Alan Tait coming in as head coach has been great and I’ve enjoyed working with him ever since he came to the club. He has such experience and loves working on defence which is a thing I pride myself on and enjoy working on. He says it as it is and we work hard, but he’s supportive of the lads too.

“As I say, if we can play well in the remaining two matches then it’ll give us something to really build on ahead of the Championship later in the year.”

Mention of the Championship is fitting given that it was in that competition in 2021 that Ferrie made the step up to Super6/Series level for the first time. He did well in making the leap, often filling in at second-row as the Knights made it to the play-off final at the DAM Health Stadium, when they came up short 26-16 to Ayrshire Bulls.

“I had moved to Newcastleton around the pandemic and I wasn’t sure where my rugby was going to go next, but my friend from college [SRUC] Gordon Fullerton was involved at Melrose, so I went down to train with the club side a few times and then I got talking to [director of rugby] Rob Moffat. He put me in touch with Rob Chrystie [the then Knights’ head coach] and things went from there.

“Training and then matches at the Knights’ level were a big jump for me and it took a while to get used to the pace and physicality of the games, but I have really enjoyed testing myself at this level in the last couple of years.”

This is now Ferrie’s fourth Super6/Series competition – Championships in 2021 and 2022 and Sprints in 2022 and 2023 – but he hasn’t f0rgotten his rugby roots.

“It was great to see Newton Stewart really compete hard [before finishing second on points difference] for the National League Two title during the season just gone because I still know most of the boys there,” he explained.

“I came up through the youth ranks and then was given dispensation to play senior rugby for the club when I was 17 and I enjoyed that experience.

“In an area of the country like that, everyone knows everyone. We came up through Douglas Ewart High School together and it is always fun to play in a team with your close mates, you really have a good team spirit.

“The Knights is my focus for now and I want to see how far I can take my rugby in the next few years, but one day when I’m older I would not rule out playing for Newton Stewart again.”


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About Gary Heatly 462 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.