CURRIE CHIEFTAINS’ day got off to an inauspicious start when the bus which was supposed to ferry the team down to the Borders did not show. A convoy of cars made the trip instead, but the extra hassle did not seem to have a detrimental effect on their mission to get this year’s BT Premiership campaign off to a flying start, as they raced into a 7-27 lead by half-time, and held on despite a mini Hawick fightback in the second half to a secure a bonus point 28-39 win.
The away team scored tries through Charlie Shiel, Stephen Ainslie, Ruaraidh Smith and Harvey Elms, and they also grabbed a second half penalty try. Jamie Forbes kicked four conversions and a penalty. Darcy Graham, Kyle Brunton and Ross Combe crossed for Hawick, and they were also awarded a penalty try. Ali Weir kicked the conversions.
“The bus wasn’t really an issue,” said head coach Ben Cairns, afterwards. “Driving is actually a better way to travel, because you get there quicker and there is less chance of dicky tummy coming along all those winding roads in the Borders. The problem is that we got a good win and now the boys want a drink but we have to drive back up the road.”
“We started well and played a good tempo in the first half,” he continued. “We made a few mistakes early on which perhaps let them off the hook a bit, but we did enough good things at the right times to build a good lead.”
“We took our foot off the accelerator in the second half and they came back into it, so it was a bit nervy towards the end – but we held of for a good win. The boys are in a pretty good place at the moment.”
Currie had a really tough start to last season, losing each of their first three matches and conceding 50 points twice (admittedly those hammerings were away to Ayr and Melrose). The fixture scheduling has been kinder to them this time and Cairns is confident that his players are in a stronger place now having lived through that tough spell.
“We had a really young and inexperienced team back then whereas now they are still young but they have a full season of senior rugby under their belts, plus quite a few of the boys were involved in the Scotland Under-20 programme which is a really valuable learning experience,” he said.
Next up for the Malleny men is a visit from Watsonians, who suffered a 54-22 defeat at Melrose this weekend.
“I was surprised by that because Watsonians have recruited well over the summer and have a great new coaching team in place – but I’m not going to read anything into one result at the start of the season. In fact, I would say that is a pretty bad result for us because there could a be a backlash next week,” mused Cairns.
“We know that Melrose are the team to beat in this league and when they get on a roll, especially at home, they are very hard to keep in check. Watsonians have got a lot of new faces in the team and a new set of coaches, I have no doubt they will get better and better as they gel and get used to what Stevie [Lawrie] wants from them.”