Scottish Cup: Watsonians run in eight tries to see off Highland

Man-of-the-match Ryan Coetzer scores a two of the Mrereside men's eight tries

Watsonians were winners over Highland at Myreside. Image: Bryan Robertson
Watsonians were winners over Highland at Myreside. Image: Bryan Robertson

Watsonians 54

Highland 28

ALAN LORIMER @ Myreside

WATSONIANS  marched into the second round of the Cup where they will face Marr away after inflicting a big defeat on Highland, scoring eight tries in a performance that showed their willingness to run the ball whenever the opportunities presented themselves. 

On a fast surface, Watsonians engineered their win through a strong forward performance, albeit matched by an eager Highland pack, and some clever backline moves in which Adam Williamson, starting at full-back before moving to stand-off in the second half, was the creative mainspring. Moreover, Williamson showed his kicking skill off the tee with seven conversions, which added to his first-half try gave him a finishing tally of 19 points.

Watsonians came into the game with a lot of changes to their starting XV but by the end of the match their coach, Jason Riley, was clearly satisfied with his his reshaped team’s performance. “We had a lot of turnover from our final league game, so there was a lot of boys coming in,” he said. “But our twos have been outstanding all season so some of the boys deserved the opportunity to step up.


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“Some of the boys who came in were outstanding. Highland came back in the second half but the boys showed discipline and composure to stay in the game,” added Riley.

It was always going to be a tough match for an understrength Highland side, notwithstanding the long journey from Inverness, of course.  Highland’s coach Dave Carson said: “We came down with a depleted squad but it gave the chance for a lot of young guys to play. Scoring four tries was pleasing. Overall it was a really good game of rugby.”

Watsonians made their intentions clear in the opening minutes by gaining a quick advantage with a maul try by hooker Matt Pritchard, quickly followed by another try, this time off set-piece, by Adam Williamson, who added the conversion points.

Highland were able to hit back with a very good score from interpassing between flanker Gordon Gregor and scrum-half Hugo Crush to give the supporting second row Euan Milton a try under the posts, presenting stand-off Scott Fraser with a simple conversion.

 

 

But Highland’s hopes of making this game a contest were rapidly dashed as wing Ryan Coetzer intercepted before sprinting in for a try under the posts, Williamson adding the extras.

Then from another maul second row Andrew McInnes added to Watsonians’ try tally, and again Williamson was accurate with the conversion before adding the extras to his side’s fifth try, this time from flanker Angus Stevenson, to give the Myreside team a 33-7 half-time lead.

A Josh Law try and a Williamson conversion at the beginning of the second half extended Watsonians’ score but fortunately for the game Highland were able to reply with a try and conversion from Fraser at the end of a clever back move and an accurate scoring  pass from Crush.

Watsonians still had more to offer and, after Williamson had set the tempo, replacement Gavin Tulloch romped in for yet another try, inflated to a seven-pointer by the accurate boot of Williamson.

Highland were able to show their attacking prowess and pace from wing Magnus Henry, who blazed in under the posts, Fraser adding the conversion. Then Watsonians lost Thomas Urquhart to the sin-bin and immediately Highland exploited their man advantage by creating an overlap for a second try by Henry, duly converted by Fraser.

But it was left to Watsonians to have the last word with a second interception try for the pacy wing Coetzer, the 60-metre try converted by Williamson to seal a big win for the home team.

 

Teams –
 
Watsonians: A Williamson; R Coetzer, H Fisher, C Kidd, J Mitchell; B Morris©, T Urquhart; J Law, M Pritchard, T Gracie, A McInnes, A Stevenson, B Robertson, A Steveny. Subs: J Holligan, C Murphy, J Roberts, T Natiri, G Tulloch.

Highland: F Riach; D Corr, J Blair, C Boyd, M Henry; S Fraser©, H Crush; S Murray, O Smith, P Ratamatasi, G Jamieson, E Milton, S Pederson, G Gregor, C Macpherson. Subs: J Milton, O Macdonald, D Monk, J Talbot-Heigh, N Vuetiyaroi.Referee: John Smith

 

Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries Pritchard, Williamson, Coetzer 2, Tulloch, Law, McInnes, Stevenson; Cons: Williamson 7.

Highland: Tries Henry 2, Fraser, Milton; Cons: Fraser 4.

Scoring Sequence (Watsonians first): 5-0; 10-0; 12-0; 12-5; 12-7; 17-7; 19-7; 24-7; 26-7; 31-7; 33-7 (h-t) 38-7; 40-7; 40-12; 40-14; 45-14; 47-14; 47-19; 47-21; 47-26; 47-28; 52-28; 54-28.

 

Yellow card –

Watsonians: Urquhart (64 mins).

 

Man-of-the-Match: Winger Ryan Coetzer was one of the successes of Watsonians’ seconds this season and was justifiably given his chance to step up to the first XV. In the event Coetzer celebrated his debut for the firsts with a brace of tries. That combined with his intelligent defence earned the youngster the MOTM award.

Talking point: Both teams were down in strength but even so served up a good game of rugby. But one has to question the wisdom of playing when a lot of club men had made their way to Rome. Having a Cup game on an international day, however, is the price to pay for over-packing the season.


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About Alan Lorimer 352 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.