Boroughmuir v Stirling County: pack power prevails over half-hearted hosts

Peter Wright criticises his team's lack of mental toughness as County score seven tries

Adam Nicol
Adam Nicol on the charge for Stirling County. Image: Bryan Robertson

Boroughmuir 28

Stirling County 46

LEWIS STUART @ Meggetland

ARE modern players mentally soft? Certainly Boroughmuir coach Peter Wright feels that is part of the problem he is facing at his club.. Too many are unwilling to take each other to task, worried that criticism might be taken personally.

So though he was happy with some aspects of his side’s attacking play as they went down by seven tries to four in an entertaining Megettland clash, he knows the defence and forward effort were both a long way from where they need to be as the club build toward the Super 6.

“We have asked the players to look within themselves,” Wright said. “Sometimes the coaches talk too much. Players need to own the game and police other players. The problem for us is that people take it all the wrong way, they take it personally when another player criticises them

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“In the olden days when that happened you would have a good old punch-up in training, but they don’t do that. Instead of biting back and challenging, they go in a huff and that is reflected in the performance.

“I have always been a believer that if you think you are being unduly criticised, you fight your corner, stand up for yourself. We take criticism the wrong way and go into our shells. When it is nothing personal, a rugby decision, we take it personally and we have had that for the last couple of years.

“This [result] just hammers home where we are as a club – we have some really talented boys but mentally we are a million miles from where we need to be.”

The frustration was clear after he had watched the side show all the conviction he could have asked for in coming back from 26-7 down to within five points of their opponents and later recover from 21-36 to close the gap to eight points, only to throw the momentum away with stupid mistakes each time.

They had got off to a stirring start when Greg Cannie, the centre, finished off a midfield break in the opening minutes, but then came under the cosh as the Stirling forwards took control. Stirling’s pack power laid the platform for scrum-half Peter Jericevich to score and winger Logan Trotter added the first of his brace, followed by a penalty try as the scrum scrum powered their way towards the line from five metres out. It meant the the visitors were in total control, claiming the scoring bonus point before the break with Ewan Magarvie on the end of a spree of offloads to claim his second.

The home side did hit back on either side of the break, with Will Inglis going over before Rory Drummond finished off a Johnny Matthews break from his own 22, but instead of capitalising, they coughed up the kick-off, found themselves under pressure, and Jericevich crossed for his second after another scrum drive and a pick-up from Ali Mackie, the No8.

Again Boroughmuir remembered their attacking game for Matthews to go over but it was a case of deja vu as, instead of consolidating, they started to make mistakes to hand Trotter his second try and a score for winger Craig Robertson to ease the visitors to a comfortable and well-deserved win.

“It was a good game, both teams were trying to play rugby,” said Eddie Pollock, the Stirling coach. “They started well but the half-hour after that, we were really good, controlled the set piece and held onto the ball really well.

“They got back within five points, but what I was pleased with was that in other games we have folded in these situations and in this game we didn’t, we kept playing and were very positive – we had talked about trying to play with a bit of ambition.

“We are very pleased with it. The challenge now is to take that performance into the next two games against Hawick and Hawks.”

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Teams – 

Boroughmuir: G Gossman; G Parker, W Wardlaw, C Cannie, J Edmunds; C Laidlaw, T Wilson; D Robertson, R Matthews, R Montgomery, W Inglis, T Drennan, C Keddie, M Walker, R Drummond. Subs used: T Gracie, A Mncube, S Smith, J Hamilton, K Gossman.

Stirling County: 
J Hope; L Trotter, E Magarvie, C Robertson, R Tagive; A Goudie, P Jericevich; M Walker, A Orr, A Nicol, R Bundy, C Henderson, G Arnott, H Burr, A Mackie. Subs used: B Robertson, G Holborn, S Yarrow, C Turnbull, C Dineen.

Referee: F Brown.


Scorers – 

Boroughmuir: Tries: Cannie, Inglis, Drummond, Matthews; Cons: Parker 4.

Stirling County: Tries: Jericevich 2, Trotter 2, Penalty Try, Magarvie, Robertson; Cons: Goudie 4; Pen: Goudie.

Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir first): 7-0, 7-5, 7-12, 7-19, 7-26, 14-26 (h-t)21-26, 21-33, 21-36, 28-36, 28-41, 28-46.


Yellow card  –

Stirling County: Hope


Man of the match: While the front five gave Stirling the platform to build on, it was the ball-carrying of Ali Mackie at No 8 that got them on the front foot.

Talking point: Forwards still win matches and with tough fixtures to come, Boroughmuir will slip down the Premiership unless the pack starts to hold its own in the set piece.

Melrose v Heriot’s: capital side too sharp for understrength hosts


About Lewis Stuart 63 Articles
Lewis has been writing about rugby for almost 40 years, the last 18 as a freelance based in Scotland bringing his wealth fo experience to just about every publication in the country. These days you can hear him as well by tuning in to his Wednesday night show on Rocksport Radio.