COLIN RENTON @ Malleny Park
CURRIE bounced back from a disappointing defeat seven days earlier, delivering a performance that reaffirmed their challenge for a BT Premiership play-off spot. The home side dominated for lengthy spells and, although it took some time to convert their supremacy into points, never looked to be in real danger.
For their part, Hawick, who were without talismanic number eight Bruce McNeil after an unsuccessful appeal against his two match suspension, failed to reproduce the form they had shown in defeating Glasgow Hawks and enjoyed only brief spells in the ascendancy.
“It’s just disappointing. Obviously we had a really good performance last week when we showed a lot of passion and did a lot of good things”, said Hawick coach Nikki Walker. ”We were just flat and never got going.”
Currie started well and a line-out steal was the platform for the first attack of the afternoon, although that came to nothing after the ball was spilled. Another handling error also put paid to the next assault on the Hawick defence.
The visitors struggled to gain a foothold although they looked comfortable in defence as the clock ticked towards 20 minutes without Currie posing a major threat – repeatedly seeing their careful build-up work founder on handling errors.
However, a score for the hosts seemed inevitable and it came in 22 minutes. Jamie Forbes took the ball at pace then stepped off his right foot and darted between two defenders before freeing Charlie Shiel for an unfettered run to the line.
Having made the breakthrough, the home side wasted little time in adding a second try. Again it was Forbes who made the initial break and this time Harvey Elms was on his shoulder to continue the move and feed Ratu Tagive, who raced over. Forbes again added the extras.
Hawick’s first visit to the home 22 came after 32 minutes and, although the ball was turned over, an offence at the ensuing play handed Ali Weir a kicking opportunity which he gladly accepted to open his team’s account.
Darcy Graham has been the talk of club rugby over recent weeks and, although he was well-marshalled for most of the afternoon by Ben Robbins, there were occasional glimpses of his searing pace and vision, particularly as the first half drew to a close. However, the interval came with neither side able to add to their tally.
Currie restarted well and Robbie Nelson was thwarted just short of the whitewash before Ross Weston was held up after taking the recycled ball. But the score was delayed by only a few minutes and it came when Hamish Bain capped another multi-phase effort when he crashed over from close range and left Forbes a simple conversion.
The bonus point score came in 51 minutes when Nelson sparked a breakout then offloaded to Tagive, who made ground before ignoring Richie Vernon on his outside and switching inside where Nelson took the pass and galloped over for another converted score.
Hawick had to react instantly and they did so when Graham had a chance to showcase his pace, blazing down the right flank to dot down.
However, Currie soon resumed control and underlined their superiority with a fifth try, this time from skipper Ross Weston, who applied the final touch after a catch-and-drive from a close-range line-out. Forbes maintained his flawless kicking record when he banged over the conversion.
“I’m happy with that. It was a tough week after Heriot’s because we felt we had been dominated in some of the fundamentals of the game. Heriot’s dominated in set piece and contact. If you don’t get either of them right, it becomes very tough to win a game”, said Currie coach Ben Cairns.
“It was really just about getting back to doing the fundamentals well – I don’t like calling them basics, because they are actually the things that are most important tin the game. We got that today. We got good quality contact ball and we got good quality set piece ball. If you get the two of them it makes everything a bit easier.”
Currie: H Elms; R Tagive, R Nelson, R Vernon, B Robbins; J Forbes, C Shiel; A McWilliam, F Scott, G Carson, H Bain, M Vernel, L Crosbie, R Davies, R Weston©. Subs: J Cox, C McEvoy, S Ainslie, R Smith, M O’Neill.
Hawick: L Armstrong; D Graham, R Hutton, G Johnstone, K Ford; A Weir, B Campbell; S Muir, F Renwick, C Mackintosh, D Lowrie, K McNeil, R Gibson, D Redpath, A Horne. Subs: M Landels, G Huggan, G Douglas, W Hamilton, S Fairbairn.
Referee: G Ormiston
Currie: Tries, Shiel, Tagive, Bain, Nelson, Weston; Conversions; Forbes (5)
Hawick: Try, Graham; Penalty, Weir
Yellow Cards –
Currie: McEvoy 78
Hawick: Campbell 80
Scoring Sequence (Currie first): 5-0, 7-0, 12-0, 14-0, 14-3 (h-t), 19-3, 21-3, 26-3, 28-3, 28-8, 33-8, 35-8
Man-of-the Match: Creator of two tries and a constant threat, Jamie Forbes capped an impressive all-round performance with a flawless kicking contribution.
Talking Point: There were four young coaches on the touchline with international experience, all promoting refreshingly open rugby. They deserve credit for their contribution towards making the club game so entertaining this season.
Image courtesy: Captain Beige on Twitter