Boroughmuir Bears 59
Future XV 36
LEWIS STUART @ Meggetland
FIFTEEN tries, the Boroughmuir Bears bouncing back from last week’s thrashing to get their first win of the season, plenty of enterprising rugby from the raw recruits of the Future XV, there was no shortage of entertainment or commitment.
The hosts even had to overcome a rocky start before they took full control but once they did there was only one winner as they took full advantage of their forward power to score four maul tries which was the basis of the victory.
Predictably, it was enough to encourage head coach Graham Shiel, but he knows his players need to step up again if they are to challenge in the FOSROC Super Series.
“Mission accomplished for us to get things back on track,” he said. “There’s a lot of things to work on, clearly, but we got the result and that was important. There’s a lot of things in our performance that we need to improve but I guess it’s never going to be a perfect game.
“Hats off to both teams, who both tried to play rugby. We had dominance up front, our maul was a weapon but what was pleasing was that later on the game we did stretch them and play through the phases. It’s good to get a win and give a lot of the young guys a run that will be good for their confidence.
“It was an improvement from last week [when the Bears lost heavily to Heriot’s] and that was a big shot in the arm for us. However, we are also under no illusions, we still need to improve significantly before we’re going to be competitive.”
His opposite number, Scott Lawson, was equally realistic. His team of youngsters was underpowered and it showed in the tight exchanges but they also produced some thrilling rugby and, as he pointed out, for the second week running came away with six tries
“I’m delighted with that performance. Everything we asked for from that group of players has been has been delivered by them – and then some,” he said.
“The whole point the Futures team is to build up robustness and get them to develop. So that’s what we need to face so that they are ready when they go to internationals for Scotland Under-20s. That’s why we’re here in this competition to face that type of challenge.
“We’ll take all the positives from the game and we’ll go away and work on our scrum and line-out and that side of things, then we’ll come back better for it.”
The tone was set from the opening seconds when Bears won a penalty, kicked for the corner and took their maul across the field, inching forwards until eventually hooker Arthur Allen grounded the ball.
The Future XV’s reply was emphatic. Amena Caqusau, the wing, collected a loose kick and set off on a run, offloading to Scott Watson, the full-back, with space to charge for the line. Though he was caught, scum-half Euan McAra was there to take the scoring pass.
From the restart, more good handling took the visitors back onto the attack though it was a muddle with the ball ricocheting round a crowd of players that made the difference. The ball whizzed across the field with Kerr Johnston almost making the line before lock Jake Spurway managed the last couple of inches.
Bears still had the maul as a weapon, however, and a repeat of the opening score, again converted by George Paul, the fly-half, put them back in front for a while.
Again, it was the Future XV handling that made the difference when a superb offload in traffic from fly-half Isaac Coates found No 8 Ollie Duncan. He broke the home defence and Fraser Wilson, the lock, made the final inches to put the visitors back into the lead.
It didn’t last because although the next Bears maul was held, it had brought them within a few feet of the visitors’ line. Wing Mason Cullen was close to breaking through on the right before, with the defence sucked in, Paul threw a long pass to Joe Jenkins for their third try as the lead changed hands yet again.
That seemed to inject a slice of confidence into the Bears and a third try for Allen, after a brilliant 50-22 from Paul had given them the line-out to maul, took them clear, before Paul completed the first half scoring with a well-taken try of his own, wrong-footing the defence on a burst to the line after Jenkins had made the hard yards.
There wasn’t any let up in the scoring early in the second-half. Bears lost the ball, Casquau hacked ahead, Johnston picked up and his offload out of the tackle gave Watson the space to make the line.
It was only a small hiccup in the Bears’ progress, however, and normality was soon restored when they won another penalty, turned it into another maul and the only surprise was that it was flanker Craig Keddie who came up with the ball and not the usual hooker.
The seventh home try was a solo effort from full-back Euan Muirhead, racing in from halfway. By now it was one-way traffic with Muirhead collecting his second after a surge from Alex Thom, the centre, before Cullen worked his way over on a set-piece move.
There was late flourish from the Future XV with Duncan being driven over under the posts before Casquau crashed over just to the right of the posts, and both sides were able to come away feeling they had achieved something.
Boroughmuir Bears: E Muirhead; M Cullen, A Thom, S Robeson, J Jenkins; G Paul, J Beveridge; L Alessandri, A Allen, M McGinley, M Loboda, J Fisher, J King, C Keddie, K Westlake. Replacements: Z Griffiths, B Sweet, D Winning, L Habb, T Andrews, R Swan, C Anderson, C Ramm.
Futures XV: S Watson; A Casquau, K Johnstone, C Ferrie, B Riley; I Coates, E McCara, C Smyth (C), M Brogan, M Ogunlaja, J Spurway, F Wilson, C Nolan, F Douglas, O Duncan. Repacements: M Carte, A Rodgers, E Cairns, T Peath, C Farmer, R Cadzow, R Lile, M Wilson.
Referee: D Sutherland
Boroughmuir Bears: Tries Allen 3, Jenkins, Paul, Keddie, Muirhead 2, Cullen; Cons: Paul 7.
Futures XV: Tries: McAra, Spurway, Wilson, Watson, Duncan, Caqusau; Con: Coates 3.
Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir Bears first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 7-10; 12-10; 14-10; 14-15; 14-17; 19-17; 24-17; 26-17; 31-17; 33-17 (h-t) 33-22; 38-22; 40-22; 45-22; 50-22; 52-22; 57-22; 59-22; 59-27; 59-29; 59-34; 59-36.
Yellow cards –
Future XV: Casquau
Player-of-the-Match: The Bears ruled the forward exchanges and made it pay but pulling the strings of their best moments was fly-half George Paul.
Talking point: The Bears have plenty spirit and adventure about them but if they are to challenge the likes of Watosnians and Bulls, their next opponents, they have to tighten their defence.