Premiership: pack power and pace out wide give GHA edge over Heriot’s Blues

Victorious head coach Trevor Carmichael says play-offs are the target

GHA were victorious over Heriot's Blues at Goldenacre. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
GHA were victorious over Heriot's Blues at Goldenacre. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Heriot’s Blues 24

GHA 48

COLIN RENTON @ Goldenacre

GHA bounced back from a shaky opening half hour to post their first win of the Tennent’s Premiership campaign in impressive fashion. A superior pack and a back three with pace to burn were the key elements for the visitors. Heriot’s played well in patches, and deserved the four-try bonus, but they fell out of the game too often and will need to address that issue, with Marr, Currie Chieftains and Hawick next on the agenda.

The visitors had the better of the opening ten minutes, with winger Amena Caqusau looking eager for work. For the hosts, who were playing their first Tennent’s Premiership match at home since being relegated as part of the Super6 franchise allocation process, the key man was wily scrum-half Graham Wilson, who may not be the force he was when skippering the side to silverware some years ago, but remains a skilled reader of the game.

Having weathered the early storm, Heriot’s showed themselves in an attacking sense through a powerful break from Sam Wallace. And they tested the opposition defence when a mazy run from Paul Christie carried play to the edge of the GHA 22 where he offloaded to Malachy Keough, who chipped ahead for Wilson. He was obstructed by Michael Fox who earned a yellow-card for the offence.


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It took only a couple of minutes for Heriot’s to profit from their numerical advantage when the ball was moved wide, and recycled ball found its way to Craig Robertson who muscled his way over.

A second try soon followed. This time Dom Martin did the spadework and sent Innes Parkin away before the full-back found Robertson in space to make it a double. This time, Wilson’s conversion was on target.

GHA clawed back three points with a sweetly struck 40-metre penalty by Chris Hyde, before hauling themselves back into the contest with a well-executed score. Aminio Bogidrau split the Heriot’s defence with a clever kick and Caqusau gathered, beat one defender then just held off Robertson in a race for the line. Hyde again showed his power with the boot as he hammered over the conversion from wide on the left.

A repeat of that try-scoring move handed the visitors the lead. On this occasion Caqusau had time to gather the kick through and touch down close enough to the posts to leave Hyde a simple conversion.

By the interval, the gap had grown after skipper Dario Ewing applied the final touch following a powerful line-out drive. Hyde’s conversion rattled back off the upright to leave a margin of ten points at the break.

 

Heriot’s bagged the first points of the second period seven minutes after the restart. A drive by the home pack was forced into touch just short of the line and when GHA failed to gather the throw at the ensuing line-out, Elliot Young was quickest to react, snapping up the loose ball to dot down and complete a weekend double for the teenage hooker, who also scored in Friday’s FOSROC Super6 match. Martin added the extras to cut the deficit to three points.

That touchdown meant that both sides had the bonus point in their sights. It was the visitors who seized the opportunity with a slick move that ended with Caqusau racing down the wing and drawing the final defender before releasing Luca Bardelli to complete the job.

Hyde’s kicking touch temporarily deserted him and he missed the conversion plus a subsequent penalty. But he showed there is more to his game than a productive boot with a powerful run that took him to within striking distance of the home line and, after drawing the last man he had options both ways and chose to feed inside to Bardelli, who claimed his second try. The creator then added the extras.

Heriot’s were a beaten side, but they snapped up a fourth try when Robertson raced clear and passed inside, then picked up and sprinted over to complete his treble.

GHA were not quite finished and Caqusau showed his running talents to carry play into the home 22, where Adam Barnett was on hand to finish the move. Bogidrau’s conversion completed a satisfying away day.

“When we went 12-0 down it was probably down to our errors,” said GHA coach Trevor Carmichael. “We started to control things a bit and went in at half-time leading. It was then about coming out second half and making sure we tried to control the game. Heriot’s got back into it but the boys stuck together and we kept our shape and our game plan and we scored some really nice tries.”

With level-headed Carmichael at the helm, the GHA players will not be carried away. However, he does believe his side can target a play-off spot, adding:  “Our goal is top four. There’s probably a couple of things we need to iron out but this is a good stepping stone.”

Heriot’s counterpart Phil Smith acknowledged that there is work to do, but he has faith in a depleted squad that should be strengthened by returning players later this month.

“This is where we’re at as a group – lots of young, enthusiastic players determined to play well. But that sometimes clouds the right decision. It’s not lack of endeavour and it’s not lack of desire, it’s just a younger group and they are blending.

“The first half hour, we were very comfortable then we switched off for two tries. The turnaround at the end of the first half was big because it punched them in the gut. They don’t know how to respond yet.”

 

Teams –

Heriot’s Blues: I Parkin; C Dineen, P Christie, O Quinn, C Robertson; D Martin©, G Wilson; J Lascelles, E Young, A Bogle, L Gordon, M Keough, M Bruce, S Wallace, B Dineen. Subs: D Westwood, A Munro, C Smith, R Thomson, R Meldrum.

GHA: C Hyde; L Bardelli, G Little, S Derrick, A Caqusau; A Bogidrau, G Baird; C Williamson, A Falconer, M Fox, S Callaghan, A Barnett, J McEntegart, D Ewing©, L McCutcheon. Subs: D Sutton, R Hay, A Flynn, W Graham, A Spowart.

Referee: M Todd

 

Scorers –

Heriot’s: Tries: Robertson 3, Young; ConL Wilson, Martin.

GHA: Tries: Caqusau 2, Ewing, Bardelli 2, McCutcheon, Barnett; Cons: Hyde 4, Bogidrau; Pen: Hyde.

Scoring sequence (Heriot’s first): 5-0; 10-0; 12-0; 12-3; 12-8; 12-10; 12-15; 12-17; 12-22 (h-t) 17-22; 19-22; 19-27; 19-32; 19-34; 19-39; 19-41; 19-46; 19-48; 24-48.

 

Yellow cards –  

GHA: Fox

 

Man-of-the-Match: It was a close call between the GHA back three, but Amena Caqusau gets the nod for his work-rate and try double.

Talking point: As is often the case for promoted sides, Heriot’s are discovering that, unlike the lower leagues, life in the top flight calls for 80 minutes of focus.


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About Colin Renton 294 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!

10 Comments

    • Dom apologised for his error four hours before your post.

      And at least he apologising for his comments on the rare occasion he might make a fool of himself unlike some.

  1. “Elliot Young was quickest to react, snapping up the loose ball to dot down and complete a weekend double for the teenage hooker, who also scored in Friday’s FOSROC Super6 match.”

    I thought super 6 players were not allowed to play in the premiership? Have I got that wrong?

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  2. “Elliot Young was quickest to react, snapping up the loose ball to dot down and complete a weekend double for the teenage hooker, who also scored in Friday’s FOSROC Super6 match.”

    I thought forsoc super 6 players were not allowed to play in the premiership? Have I got that wrong

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    • Elliot is a Heriot’s Blues player who was called up as emergency cover to Heriot’s Super6. There are very strict rules around contracted Super6 players playing Premiership (ie they can’t), created by the Premiership, so players not selected for Super6 sit and watch the Premiership instead.

      But don’t let the detail get in the way of your complaints Dom Ward. Disappointing as you are normally fairly well read…..

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      • I couldnt care less about Super 6 and the “rules” they have in place for switching players in and out of these sides but my apologies for the obvious error

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    • Elliot Young is not a Super 6 player. He was drafted into the bench for Heriots Super 6 team on Friday night because of an injury to Cam Fenton. All the Super 6 teams have called up non-contracted players to cover for injuries this season. None of these players are prevented from playing Premiership.
      Plus Elliott Young, has only just left school, so even if he was contracted to Super 6 I think it would be pushing it a bit to suggest Heriots Blues were getting an advantage by playing him.

  3. Interesting use is Super 6 players by Heriots. Must be really handy being able to select semi pro players not available to other sides in the Premiership

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  4. It’s a real shame as I thought the Heriot’s side from last year, if kept together, would have been in the top 4 this year. It seems they have lost a lot of players.

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    • It’s what happens when you don’t replace the players moving up. Think Heriots need to dig deep in their pocket and subsidise bigger players in the pack like other teams like Selkirk, Currie and Marr otherwise they’re going to be fighting it out with Jed and Musselburgh for relegation.

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