Super Series: Ayrshire Bulls despatch Future XV in businesslike fashion

Hosts provide bumper crowd with something to cheer about on Ladies Day at Millbrae

Bobby Beattie on the charge for Ayrshire Bulls versus Scotland Future XV. Image: George McMillan
Bobby Beattie on the charge for Ayrshire Bulls versus Scotland Future XV. Image: George McMillan

Ayrshire Bulls 40

Future XV 0

IAIN HAY @ Millbrae

A GLORIOUSLY sunny ‘Ladies Day’ at Millbrae was topped off with an, as expected, comfortable victory for the home side, as they kept the young bucks at bay to place the Bulls on top of the Super Series table.

You feared for the Future XV when Bulls took the lead within four minutes of kick-off, Tim Brown taking down the line-out before finding Bobby Beattie on the angle to scythe straight through to the try-line, but victorious head coach Pat MacArthur praised how the developmental side had defended, particularly during phase-play.

“You know when you preview these games it’s a massive challenge for them against us, and credit to them for their intent in defence,” he said. “It put us under pressure. We managed to get the bonus point eventually but they were putting us off of our shape and we didn’t quite click, and it’s my only slight annoyance when I talked to the boys, that our systems and our shape have been so clinical, and we didn’t quite get to where we needed to be today.

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“I think we’re the only team they’ve not scored against, they’ve been scoring lots of tries so a big part of our preview was: ‘How do we control their attack?’ They’re fit, young, fast and like an offload, so I’m quite happy with that side of the game [defence] at the end of this first block of matches.”

Bulls’ well-drilled set-piece was the biggest headache for the Future XV, and when the first of many scrum penalties went to the corner, a successfully gathered line-out saw Alex McGuire double the try count, with Christian Townsend’s extras from the tee making it 14-0.

Another try looked on the cards when Finn Duraj, perhaps harshly, was penalised for playing the ball off his feet and Townsend again went to the corner, only for Freddy Douglas to win a vital turnover penalty in the shadow of his own sticks.

Bulls didn’t have to wait much longer for their third though, Connor McAlpine unlucky to see his kick over the head of the Bulls’ defence roll over the dead-ball line at the back, handing the scrum to Bulls, who won another penalty, and then another when Fergus Johnston was tackled within 10 metres of his tap and go.

This penalty went to the corner and when the Bulls decided they couldn’t get round the Future’s defence, Blair Macpherson went through them instead from close-range.

Future XV started to show a bit more in attack, a neat Isaac Coates’ kick put the Bulls in coffin-corner, and when they turned over the ball deep in Bulls’ half, only a slip from Ben Salmon stopped him from getting past the last man. They then lost possession at that breakdown and have Douglas to thank for hauling down Luca Bardelli as the speed-merchant countered.

Solid open-play defending from the Future XV stopped Bulls from claiming the bonus point score in the first half, but Macpherson had a simple run-in for his second after Bardelli couldn’t quite get round Ben Riley to make the maximum points seem a certainty. Townsend’s conversion attempt hit the post to spoil his 100 percent kicking record.

Whistle-fatigue may have prompted referee Ruairi Campbell to tell replacement scrum-half Reiss Cullen to play the ball on another advancing Bulls’ scrum, which led to fellow half-back replacement Brad Roderick-Evans crossing in the left, and with time nearly up another replacement scored from another scrum, this time Ryan Sweeney controlling at the base from five metres out before grounding.

Although setting expectations reasonably, there was a couple of things that the Future XV squad co-head coach Scott Forrest was disappointed in.

“I think we defended well for periods, in phase play we showed a couple of really good examples and were able to force the turnover, the only thing we [Forrest and co-coach Fergus Pringle] have highlighted is that we’ve got to make ourselves harder to score against because the majority of Ayrshire’s tries came from first phase,” he said.

“Ferg and I have said to the players, for the first time, there’s a bit of frustration there because although we can’t fault their effort, they’ve got to be better at adapting on the pitch and not making the same mistakes over and over.

“Also, I think in attack, it’s the first time we’ve come off feeling a bit flat, and that we didn’t really fire a shot. If you look at last week against Heriot’s, and even patches against Stirling, we’ve had moments where we’ve played the way we’ve wanted to and executed well, but we didn’t really see that today and the boys are disappointed at having not scored for the first time as well.

“This was a tough ask for this group of players. It will get better, we’re just not there yet.”


Teams –

Ayrshire Bulls: L Bardelli; J Shedden, C Elliot, R Beattie,T Glendinning; C Townsend, F Johnston; A Nimmo, A McGuire, R Tanner, E Bloodworth, O Baird, L McNamara, T Brown, B Macpherson©. Substitutes: G Stewart, C Miller, W Farquhar, R Sweeney, R Cullen, B Roderick-Evans, A Stirrat, O Horne.

Future XV: J Hocking; B Riley, B Salmon, C Ferrie, K Johnston; I Coates, C McApline; T Banatvala, F Duraj, C Norrie, R Burkę, R Hart, C Nolan, F Douglas, T Currie ©. Substitutes: E McGeoch, C Smyth, R Deans, L Fergusson, L Townsend, F Burgess, M Urwin, J Craig

Referee: Ruairi Campbell


Scorers –

Ayrshire Bulls: Tries: Beattie, McGuire, Macpherson 2, Roderick-Evans, Sweeney; Cons: Townsend 4, Roderick-Evans 2.

Future XV: No scorers

Scoring sequence (Ayrshire Bulls first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 19-0; 21-0 (h-t) 26-0; 31-0l 33-0; 38-0; 40-0


Player-of-the-Match: Solid at the set-piece – of which there were many – and got himself on the scoreboard, Alex McGuire had an efficient and effective afternoon’s work.

Talking point: Although it seems another chastening defeat, Future XV co-coach Scott Forrest insists this is a worthwhile exercise for his charges, especially around the level of physicality which the national under-20s will be exposed to come the Six Nations.

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About Iain Hay 73 Articles
New to the freelancing journalistic world as of August 2019, Iain has previously written for The Scottish Rugby Blog since 2017, covering matches for Glasgow Warriors, Scotland and opinion pieces. Can also often be heard on their podcast flapping his gums about the oval-ball (technically, it’s ellipsoidal) game and being pedantic. Is rumoured to believe that Finn Russell is The Messiah. Does the Twitter thing, but doesn’t like it.


  1. Another demolition for the Futures. I continue to feel sorry for the lads. I really can’t see the benefit of being outplayed by older/better players every week. Having the older/better players as team mates, now that’s a great learning experience.

    • Once again your negativity abounds.
      So winning easily playing second XV club rugby is going to prepare them for U20 world and 6 nations competitions? That is what happened last season when Glasgow Hawks’ second XV was winning by 80-0 and GHA 92-0. I note a closer game against GHA seconds on Saturday past when Hawks seconds lost 34-25.

      • There’s no positive to take from it.

        I’d agree with you that winning easily is every bit as poor for player development as losing heavily, which is why the lads should be in an environment where they are playing closely contested matches, assisted by older/better players. If anyone thinks that getting hammered every week is going help the boys be well prepared for U20 World and 6 Nations rugby, they’re wrong – it doesn’t work that way.

        Expecting results to show that both GHA and Hawks 2nd XV’s are considerably weaker this season, both clubs having lost a fair number of players to Super Series.

  2. Always going to be a tough test for futures ( as are all their games) but they are competing… as everyone said the upfront battle will be a mismatch, and so it is. I kind of get what they are trying, but one injury blows it all out of the water for me. So pleasing to read a coaches thoughts ( MacArtur) that have some reason and thought in them towards futures rather than the were here to win mantra that Stirling trotted out after their drubbing of the young ones.


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