Currie Chieftains 23
ALAN LORIMER @ Riverside Park
CURRIE CHIEFTAINS maintained pressure on Premiership leaders, Marr, by defeating Jed-Forest at Riverside with a dominant second half performance that put a restraint on the Borderers’ attacking game.
Jed looked the better side for most of the first half, their forwards matching the visiting eight to establish a 6-5 interval lead. But it was a different Currie side that began the second half, the Chieftains turning up the heat in the frontal battle to deny the home side the possession they needed for backline attacks.
“In the second half we managed to keep possession for longer periods of time. The forwards did well in the maul and scrum,” opined Mark Cairns, the Currie Chieftains coach, who was also pleased with the way his side’s organised defence operated. “We also had a couple of important defensive moments five metres out from the line. In the first half we had to defend tenaciously as we didn’t have much possession.”
Jed’s backs have been able to cut through most sides but against Currie, save for some special moments in the game, the Royal Blues’ dangerous runners were contained. Jed were also not helped by playing 20 minutes of the game with 14 men after first Gary Munro was binned for an off-the-ball retaliation incident, and then Gary Law got the same punishment for a late hit on Gregor Hunter.
“I was pleased with the way we controlled the game for most of the first half. We had the ascendancy up until we got the yellow card,” suggested Gavin Kerr, the Jed coach.
Currie, under the confidence-inspiring generalship of Hunter, showed good ball handling skills but it was their one-on-one tackling that proved to be the major contribution to success against Jed, a victory, however, that came without a bonus point.
Jed certainly looked on fire in the opening exchanges and quickly took the lead with a Robbie Yourston penalty goal. But Jed then missed a crucial chance to increase their lead when Munro, with support runners outside him, inexplicably opted to kick, when quick ball transfer looked likely to produce a try.
Currie also denied themselves a try when Hunter raced in under the posts only for the pass from Josh O’Brien to be (rightly) judged forward. Jed quickly reasserted themselves and after sustained attacks, Yourston kicked a second penalty goal.
Then, after Munro was yellow carded, Currie exploited the man advantage by stretching the Jed defence with accurate flat-passing that ended with hooker Roy Vucago touching down in the corner.
Three minutes into the second half, Hunter kicked a penalty goal to give Currie the lead for the first time in the game. With their tails up, the visitors attacked from a set scrum to produce a try for wing Cammy Meager from an out-the-back pass by Vucago.
The Chieftains’ lead was extended with a second penalty goal by Hunter, and further still when they made their numerical superiority in the scrum count following the sin-binning of Law to win a penalty try.
The distribution of yellow cards continued with Meager being sent to the sin-bin for slapping down a Jed pass in his own 22. This appeared to revitalise Jed, who were rewarded with a try by Gregor Young after Rory Marshall had taken play to the Currie line with a kick and chase, with Yourston’s conversion the final points of the match.
Jed-Forest: L Young; S Paxton, Gregor Young, R Marshall, G Munro; R Yourston, J McGough; G Paxton, F Scott, P Ferreira, B Saxton, G Law, D Tjombie, M Weekley, Garry Young. Subs: F Campbell, T Jeffrey, D Grieve, G Taylor, M Chisholm.
Currie Chieftains: C Brett; C Meager, S Hamilton, A Hall, A MacLean; G Hunter, G Christie; G Carson, G Vucago, C Ramsay, M Poole, M Vernel, J O’Brien, H Ferguson, W Nelson. Subs: S Edwards, R Patterson, M Argiro, T Clark, F Sayers.
Referee: M Rodden
Jed-Forest: Try: G Young; Con: Yourston; Pens: Yourston 2.
Currie Chieftains: Tries: Vucago, Meager, Penalty Try; Pens: Hunter 2.
Scoring Sequence (Jed first): 3-0; 6-0; 6-5 (h-t) 6-8; 6-13; 6-16; 6-23; 11-23; 13-23.
Yellow cards –
Jed-Forest: Munro, Law
Currie Chieftains: Meager
Man-of-the-Match: The arrival of Roy Vucago at Malleny Park last month has given Currie a valuable asset. Against Jed, the Fiji-born hooker/back-row displayed power and rugby nous that accounted for two of the team’s’ tries.
Talking point: The value of a strong defence was visibly shown by Chieftains, who, particularly in the second half, made sure that Jed’s talented back line was kept in check. Currie’s other strong suit was the controlling influence of Gregor Hunter at stand-off, the former Edinburgh pro showing astute tactical kicking together with accurate distribution skills that gave his centres the chance to play running rugby.