Scottish Cup: Glasgow Hawks outmuscle Heriot’s Blues

Depleted hosts show plenty of willing but can't match opponents' power and game management

Glasgow Hawks outmuscled Heriot's Blues to progress to the Scottish Cup semi-final where they will host Hawick. Image: Paul Phelan
Glasgow Hawks outmuscled Heriot's Blues to progress to the Scottish Cup semi-final where they will host Hawick. Image: Paul Phelan

Heriot’s Blues 14

Glasgow Hawks 23

ALAN LORIMER @Goldenacre

GLASGOW HAWKS powered their way into the semi-final of the Scottish Cup by delivering a physical performance from their forward pack that the Goldenacre men found difficult, but far from impossible, to combat. Ultimately, it was this strength up front that laid the basis for two well constructed tries in the third quarter that sealed the game for the west coast side. 

Admittedly Hawks’ task was made easier by the absence of some five first choice players from the Heriot’s side but such is the strength of the home side’s reserve XV that Heriot’s Blues were able to field a team that at one stage in the game threatened to upset the pundits’ prediction of an away win.

Indeed, Heriot’s Blues never looked like a defeated team and always seemed to have the energy and the will to run the ball back at their opponents. But in the end, it was hard for the Goldenacre men to play back foot rugby against a side that put up an iron defence curtain.


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Aside from their advantage in the forward exchanges, Hawks managed the game better, their tactical kicking and slick passing from stand-off Gavin Cruickshanks crucial for his side’s dominance in the third quarter when the visitors took hold of the game, showing their skill behind the scrum with two tries.

“The boys delivered on everything we asked of them. We had difficult rounds against Gala and Dundee and that allowed us to build some character and I think that character showed through today,” said Tam Davidson, the Hawks coach.

He added: “Our defence was very good today – that was one of the targets we set ourselves in training this week. We’ve become renowned as being a physical outfit. We lost our way a bit in the last two rounds but today was about rediscovering that physicality. We’ve got Hawick in two weeks time. We’ll throw everything at it. The boys are really excited by it.”

For Heriot’s there was always a fear that their weakened team would struggle in the forward battle. “We knew it was going to be very hard especially around the scrum area,” said Heriot’s coach, Jamie Parker. “Hawks brought physicality but I thought our boys stuck in very well. We perhaps missed a few opportunities by coughing up ball at times and gave them some easy outs.

He continued: “We can’t fault the effort that the boys offered today and indeed all season. We perhaps punched above our weight at times this season and at other times let ourselves down. The boys feel that this was a missed opportunity but there’s plenty we can take out of that which owe can take into next season.”

Despite the disruptions to their team, Heriot’s started the game at supersonic speed and were quickly rewarded with an early score, which came from a patient build-up and then a long miss-pass to Sam Wallace for the former Dollar flanker to dive over in the corner. From the touchline, veteran scrum-half Graham Wilson added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Hawks quickly put their stamp on the game with powerful drives from their heavier forwards that allowed the visitors to encamp in their opponents 22. The visitors then turned on the scoring tap from close-range surges that ended with second-row Stephen Leckey forcing his way for what seemed an inevitable try.

The conversion was missed but a penalty goal by Matthew Stewart atoned to give Hawks a 8-7 lead which they kept for the remainder of the first half.

 

Hawks looked much more purposeful at the beginning of the second half, dominating both possession and territory and profiting from accurate handling to create an overlap on the right flank that centre James Pinkerton exploited by putting wing Ryan Flett in at the corner.

Then, after good work by Hawks’ forward pack, the ball was again shipped to the right touchline, this time resulting in a simple run-in for Pinkerton, the conversion by Stewart putting Hawks into a substantial lead.

Substantial – until, that is, Heriot’s worked their way to the Hawks line via several telling runs from arch-competitor Charlie Simpson. But in the end it was a good old-fashioned maul that produced the points, from a try from flanker Innes Hill. Wilson’s conversion sailed straight between the posts and Heriot’s were back to within six points of the Glasgow men, only to be put back in their box by a second penalty goal by Stewart.

Heriot’s, however, did not give up and showed real determination to come back into the game by moving the ball wide and using the pace of their back three.

Hawks defence, however, proved stronger than Heriot’s attack leaving the visitors to enjoy the victors’ spoils and to contemplate what will surely be a more testing game against Premiership champions Hawick in the semi-final.

 

Teams –

Heriot’s Blues: C Simpson; P Christie; O Quinn, R Kay©, F Stanier; R Carmichael, G Wilson; M Bouab, D Dineen, J Lascelles, D Webb, C Jupp, I Hill, S Wallace, M Keough. Subs: S Mustard, A Munro, R Kirkpatrick, R Thomson, N Henry, D Yellowley, I Parkin.

Glasgow Hawks: E Muirhead; R Flett, J Pinkerton, M Stewart, S Graham; G Cruikshanks, E Davey; M Downer, P Cairncross, G Strain, A Maitland, S Leckey©, I Totic, T Wright, S Hastings. Subs: K Shanahan, J Porter, V Carlsson, H Roxburgh, A McLean, C Ferrie, H Michell.

Referee: David Young

 

Scorers –

Heriot’s Blues: Tries Wallace, Innes; Cons: Wilson 2.

Glasgow Hawks: Tries Leckey, Flett, Pinkerton; Con Stewart; Pens: Stewart 2.

Scoring Sequence (Heriot’s Blues first): 5-0;  7-0; 7-5; 7-8 (h-t) 7-13; 7-18; 7-20; 12-20; 14-20; 14-23.

 

Man-of-the-Match: Much of Hawks’ success was down to the sheer physicality of their forward pack but much was also attributable to the awareness and skill of their flanker Tiaan Wright, whose defence and clever link-play earns him the man-of-the-matcb accolade.

Talking point: Hawks will face Hawick in two weeks time but at what venue remains to be seen. It is understood that Balgray will not be available and that effort will now be made to find an alternative ground. Any takers?


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About Alan Lorimer 370 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.

1 Comment

  1. A good report on a good game. But scrum power clearly a deciding factor. Yet really scrums are just a way to restart a game after a minor offence – forward pass, fumble etc. Yet they frequently result in penalties and cards! I don’t think this makes sense, especially when crooked feeds are the norm.

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