Currie Chieftains 52
IAIN MORRISON @ Malleny Park
CURRIE CHIEFTAINS proved too strong for a spirited Jed-Forest side that was ultimately outplayed in every aspect of this game with one exception. The home side grabbed the bonus score late in the first 40 and the Chieftains ultimately filled their boots, scoring eight tries over the piece after hitting another purple patch in the second half that saw three scores in 11 minutes straddling the hour mark.
One time Kiwi sevens squad member Kody McGovern grabbed a hat-trick of tries for the home team on debut and, unsurprisingly perhaps, looked the real deal. And still there was plenty of early season rust in the Currie ranks as the home side left several scores out on the field.
Up front, Currie’s twin towers of Ewan Stewart and Cody Roman in the second-row bossed the line-outs and the Malleny back-row is well balanced with blindside flanker Archie MacLean looking especially comfortable with the ball in hand, scoring one of Currie’s first half tries.
This weekend’s other Premiership match reports:
In the backs, Jamie Forbes ran this show at ten, launching an early 50/20 kick to put the pressure on Jed although his forwards were unable, on that occasion, to take full advantage. Currie were too physical, too fast in thought and deed, and too smart for the Borderers.
“Andy has done a good job to bring those boys together,” said Mark Cairns of Saturday’s opposition. “At half time if they had the next score they would have been right in this game.
“Everyone (in the third quarter) tried to play as an individual and you end up losing your shape with guys all over the place. I think that is what happened at times today when we were getting good go-forward.
“Currie had three teams out today and our strongest is still the team of players that are out of contention with injury right now!”
Cairns alluded to it and the Currie backs, not the most physical in the league, were perhaps guilty of overcomplicating things in the final third of the field, trying to pass the ball into the back of the net, to borrow a football analogy, when you suspect that a more direct route would have served them better. Oh, and before kick-off the stadium announcer asked for respect for the match officials but that didn’t stop Currie seeing one second half penalty being reversed for backchat.
Jed brought determination and no little skill to this contest which remained just that, a contest, throughout the first half. They scored two tries, one in each half, and should perhaps have had another couple of scores with the game ending with full-back Lewis Elder putting a foot in touch just yards from the Chieftains try line.
The visitors had an edge in the set scrum, largely thanks to loosehead Grant Paxton, and they won two straight arm penalties thanks to it but it was never going to be enough against Currie’s all-court game.
Jed threatened early on when fly-half Lewis Walker made the initial break only for winger Robbie Shirra-Gibb to be bundled into touch. It wasn’t until five minutes before the break that Jed were rewarded for their persistence when Walker sent Dom Buckley through a gap around the halfway line and the inside-centre showed good pace before sending his midfield buddy Rory Marshall over the line for Jed’s first score.
Sadly for the visitors, Currie had already grabbed three touchdowns and there was still time for the home side to snaffle one more before the break. McGovern showing his pace by rounding Elder to take a 28-7 advantage at half-time.
It can be difficult to shine in Currie’s ranks given the quality they field across the squad but the leggy centre Greg Cannie, a former Boroughmuir and Watsonians’ player, managed to do just that with some ease.
After scoring the first try of the afternoon, when pouncing on a Jed handling error inside their own red zone, Cannie manufactured Currie’s second score by ghosting through a huge gap in the Jed defence before hooker Sean Fisher finished from short range. A little later, Cannie was sitting down his opposite number in a show of strength and he continued his heroics after the break.
It was Cannie who, in a scrappy third quarter, grabbed this game by the scruff of the neck and shook it hard. The big midfielder again made the initial break before feeding number eight Rhys Davies, who sent outside-centre James McCaig scampering under the posts for a try that gave Currie a kick in the pants.
That effort was quickly followed by another home try, this one made by full-back Charlie Brett, whose dancing feet bought space for McGovern to score his second, and the winger very shortly had a hat trick to his name. This time replacement Jack Duncan made all the running and McGovern had a simple task to score in the right hand corner.
Somehow Jed worked their way into the Currie red zone and the burly figure of prop Paul Ferreira, a try scoring machine, burrowed his way through the mass of bodies to come up with the visitor’s second try of the afternoon with perhaps ten minutes to play.
Still time for flanker Gregor Nelson to score after a sweeping handling move by the Chieftains saw the ball pass through almost the entire team, twice, before the flanker finished it off.
“Currie are a good, organised outfit and we are rebuilding,” said Jed’s new coach Andy Brown, who had endured a baptism of fire. “We are at the bottom and working our way up but I thought there were lots of positives to take.
“I thought the set-piece was good today, we were dominant in the scrum all the way through, we just didn’t manage to capitalise on it. In the first half we made too many mistakes. Little things like missing touch, an overthrow in the line-out and a turnover in midfield, which led to three tries.”
Currie Chieftains: C Brett; K McGovern, J McCaig, G Cannie, C Meager; J Forbes, P Boyer; G Carson, S Fisher, C Ramsay, E Stewart, C Roman, A MacLean, G Nelson, R Davies. Subs: R Stewart, A Cameron, J Duncan, C Lessels, S Leto.
Jed-Forest: L Elder; O Cranston, R Marshall, D Buckley, R Shirra-Gibb; L Walker, A Bambrick; G Paxton, F Scott, P Ferreira, A Sweenie, C Skeldon, J Mcgough, G Young, M Atkinson. Subs: J Story, J Hynd, R Ferreira, E Lauder, B McNeil.
Referee: Michael Todd.
Currie Chieftains: Tries: Cannie, Fisher, MacLean, McGovern 3, McCaig, Nelson; Cons: Forbes 5, Lessels.
Jed-Forest: Tres: Marshall, Ferreira; Con: Walker.
Scoring sequence (Currie first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 19-0; 21-0; 21-5; 21-7; 26-7; 28-7 (h-t) 33-7; 35-7; 40-7; 45-7; 45-12; 50-12; 52-12.
Man-of-the-Match: It’s a tough afternoon when you score a hat-trick of tries but still don’t get the MOM award but that was the fate of Kiwi winger Kody McGovern who was playing his first game for the club. Elsewhere, Jamie Forbes was excellent at No 10 and not many clubs at this level could ever afford to leave a talent like Jack Duncan on the bench. However, Greg Cannie was at the heart of every excellent thing that Currie did yesterday, scoring the first try and creating at least three others, so the big centre, also on debut, gets the nod.
Talking point: Early in the proceedings, before anyone had scored, Currie lock Ewan Stewart got the ball just outside his own 22 area. He could have carried and gone to ground but instead the big man showed a deft touch, and soaring ambition, by offloading round the back of his tackler! ‘This afternoon, Matthew, I am going to be Leone Nakarawa’, he may or may not have said … in the Malleny dressing room … before kick off.