Currie Chieftains 31
Edinburgh Accies 12
COLIN RENTON @ Malleny Park
CURRIE Chieftains shrugged off an indifferent performance seven days earlier to bag five Tennent’s Premiership points with a workmanlike performance. The home side’s showing was further evidence of the week-to-week improvement as Mark Cairns’ inexperienced squad beds in, and featured some enterprising rugby, particularly in the first half.
“We got there. We managed to get the bonus point, which was really important”, said Cairns, who acknowledged the task he faces, adding, “We’ve got six boys at 18-years-old, we’ve got another six boys who are under 20. You’ve got 12 boys there who are really young and just learning.”
He admitted that such inexperience was a factor in the defeat the previous Saturday, adding, “it was a massive step up at Marr and we learned a lot from that. There’s too much doubting themselves. They’ve got the talent and they have got the physicality, they just need to back themselves. The whole week was spent building these boys’ confidence up.”
Accies are in a similar rebuilding phase, with a host of unfamiliar faces carrying their challenge, but taking a little longer to gel as a unit. Their gradual evolution has been made a bit trickier by the fact that the Raeburn Place redevelopment means they are currently playing all their matches away from home.
Outside centre Steven Hamilton was prominent in the opening minutes as Chieftains sought to impose their open style, while Cammy Scott – fielded at stand-off in place of the injured Gregor Hunter – also made a solid start. However, after being hemmed in for the opening eight minutes, it was the visitors who came close to breaking through when Ruari Campbell raced clear then hacked ahead. Charlie Brett had to look lively to rescue the hosts.
Accies enjoyed a spell in the ascendancy and Jamie Loomes almost unlocked the home defence with a clever chip. Both sides were brimming with ambition and a break by Cammy Meager created the platform for another bout of Chieftains pressure. Hamish Ferguson was held up over the whitewash but Wallace Nelson blasted his way over from the ensuing scrum to set the scoreboard ticking over and Adam Hall added the extras then took the tally into double figures when he banged over a penalty shortly afterwards.
Another intelligent kick by Loomes took Accies deep into Chieftains territory. Ben Appleson and Jamie Sole came close to breaking through before a scrum handed Scott the chance to boot clear.
Gregor Christie was looking lively for Chieftains and the scrum-half featured three times in the lead up to the second Chieftains try, including a deft scoring pass for skipper Fergus Scott who raced in to leave Hall a simple conversion that completed the first-half scoring.
A couple of penalties early in the second half gave Accies a chance to gain a foothold in the game. They did so when Angus Inwood pouched a lineout ball and offloaded to Clement Lacour who thundered over. Loomes steered the kick between the uprights for a full seven-point haul.
The deteriorating conditions took their toll on the quality of the rugby on show, and the error count mounted. The match became an attritional affair contested largely in midfield.
In the circumstances, it was no surprise that the third Chieftains try was built on forward power. A surge at a scrum earned a penalty that Christie took quickly before he popped the ball inside to Fergus Scott and the skipper plunged over for a second time. Hall added the extras and the damage to Accies was maximised when Patrick O’Sullivan was yellow-carded.
That score triggered the chase for a bonus-point try and it came in injury time when another scrum created the platform for Graeme Carson to claim the touchdown and leave Hall a simple conversion.
Accies had the final word when Jacob Adamson scampered home for try with the final action of the game but it was little consolation for the visitors.
“We were second best at pretty much everything. We had an opportunity in the first ten minutes of the second half to get back in the game but maybe our discipline let us down a bit”, said coach Iain Berthinussen, who admitted that having no home at the moment is an additional barrier to overcome. “It’s tough for us because we are on the road all the time – we’ve just got to keep going. We will be back and playing somewhere in Edinburgh for the second half of the season. But we need to look at our away form – that’s two defeats on the bounce.”
Currie Chieftains: C Brett; C Meager, S Hamilton, A Hall, A MacLean; C Scott, G Christie; G Carson, F Scott, M Argiro, M Vernel, M Poole, H Ferguson, W Nelson, J O’Brien. Subs: G Williamson, C Ramsay, C Lessells, F Sayers, A Harley.
Edinburgh Accies: B Appleson; R Cameron, R Wilson, R Bonner, J Adamson; J Loomes, M Love; C Imrie, N Hall, C Lacour, C Thomson, A Inwood, P O’Sullivan, J Sole©, R Campbell. Subs: R Simpson, D Anderson, R McConnell, J Bruce, M Sinclair.
Referee: D Sutherland
Currie Chieftains: Tries: Nelson, F Scott 2, Carson; Cons: Hall 4; Pen: Hall.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Lacour, Adamson; Con: Loomes.
Scoring sequence (Currie Chieftains first): 5-0, 7-0, 10-0, 15-0, 17-0 half-time, 17-5, 17-7, 22-7, 24-7, 29-7, 31-7, 31-12.
Yellow card –
Edinburgh Accies: P O’Sullivan
Man of the match: There were impressive contributions from players on both sides and the hosts in particular had several contenders, but the man that stood out was livewire Chieftains scrum-half Gregor Christie who was a constant thorn in the Accies side.
Talking point: Another step towards maturity for a young Chieftains squad, who are on track to maintain their record of reaching the play-offs each season since they were introduced.