Super Series: Boroughmuir Bears barge past depleted Glasgow Warriors ‘A’

Visitors started match with only three forwards on the bench and ended up with a prop in the second-row and a centre at flanker

Matt Reid carries the ball for Boroughmuir Bears in their Super Series Sprint round one win over Glasgow Warriors 'A'. Image: © Craig Watson -
Matt Reid carries the ball for Boroughmuir Bears in their Super Series Sprint round one win over Glasgow Warriors 'A'. Image: © Craig Watson - © Craig Watson -

Boroughmuir Bears 26

Glasgow Warriors ‘A’ 17

LEWIS STUART @ Meggetland

A DOMINANT first half was enough to see Boroughmuir Bears through to an opening weekend win in the Super Series Sprint against a Glasgow Warriors side who struggled for possession.

The writing was on the wall for the visitors when early injuries meant they had a prop in the second-row and a centre playing flanker after half an hour. It was no surprise that Boroughmuir dominated the tight and the breakdown. Warriors did show promise in broken play but the hosts only had to turn back to their forwards when they were under pressure to ensure the bonus point win.

Coach Graham Shiel knows there will be tougher tests for his players this season but on a perfect afternoon for open rugby he was happy to take the points and the positives that come with them.

“Whenever they got space and opportunities, they were really, really dangerous, so we had to play to our strengths and take those opportunities away from them as much as possible,” he said. “When we got possession, we looked after it and when we did that we got some sores.

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“I was happy with the first half when we did some really good stuff but we struggled a bit in the second half to get our game going.

“We competed well for the ball when we needed to, and we made some good decisions on when we didn’t need to compete and let them have it. Overall, it’s all pretty pleasing. These players are working hard and they need to enjoy it so days like this make it so much better.”

For Glasgow – whose struggles just to raise a team with injuries and competing demands from the full-time pro side, meant they had to borrow Craig Miller from Ayrshire Bulls to complete the 23 and even then had only three specialist forwards on the bench – it was a mixed bag. No quality ball as both scrum and line-out was under pressure but some top-notch open-field running.

“It was challenging just to get a team together,” admitted Peter Horne, the head coach. “Credit to Boroughmuir, however, they were very good in the first half and clinical in taking chances. First half we didn’t get the ball, which was always going to be the case with guys playing all over the shop.

“From counterattack and broken play, when we got into shape we looked good, but I was disappointed with a lot of our breakdown play, particularly in the first half. The best thing is that there are some guys there who have now experienced the biggest step up in their careers and know what it takes. Fraser Allen, for example, got half an hour after coming in from Howe of Fife, down in National Three. It’s great to give these boys an opportunity.”

Both sides looked full of intent, running the ball from just about every part of the field but in the end it was the home superiority in the tight that made the biggest difference. The signs were there from the opening minutes when the Bears got the first chance of the game with lock Jack Fisher taking the ball on a peel round the front of the line-out only to be held up over the line.

The home side then got into self destruct mode as they tried to run out of defence only to lose the ball and see Glasgow lock Harris McLeod send flanker Johnny Morris in for the opening try.

It was the visitors’ highlight of the opening spell with Boroughmuir then taking an iron grip on the rest of the first half, with three quick-fire tries, starting from the incident that saw Glasgow’s Gregor Brown sent to the sin-bin for hauling down a maul on his line.

The Bears elected to tap the penalty and after a couple of drives from the forwards, scrum-half Ruaridh Swan shifted to the openside where quick hands from George Paul, the fly-half, put skipper Scott Robeson in for their opening try.

Then, just as the sin-bin period was running out, Bears did it again with the Paul-Robeson axis again coming up trumps as the centre cruised in for the second score after being fed from another line-out maul.

Glasgow were showing up in flashes, with Ben Afshar, the scrum-half and captain prominent, but they struggled for breakdown cohesion and could not take advantage of the half breaks. Instead it was Boroughmuir who eased further ahead with Robeson skipping past the defence and putting wing Matt Reid in for try number three, with Paul converting them all to give his side a 16-point advantage at the break.



Some of the problems Glasgow had just raising a 23 were demonstrated when their locks both picked up injuries and were replaced by Callum Smyth, a prop, and Kerr Yule, a centre. Despite that, the pro side did draw first blood in the second with Afshar again the spark and a sublime offload from Jack Mann to Smyth putting the visitors in for their second score.

Warriors were struggling for possession but when they did get the ball they looked dangerous, with a 50-22 from Afshar setting up the next score from the line out, with fly-half Richie Simpson cutting across at an angle to take an offload from centre Duncan Munn and cross.

With Afshar’s conversion, it was down to a four point game but the Warriors were still struggling for consistency up front, and when Boroughmuir got another chance they took it, pummelling the line until they created space on the outside for Reid to cross for his second and ensure the bonus point.

Glasgow did have opportunities to claim a couple of bonus points in defeat but couldn’t manage to capitalise on their half chances, and Boroughmuir gave them a lesson in stealing breakdown possession to keep the rest of the game scoreless.


Teams –

Boroughmuir Bears: E Muirhead; M Reid, R Kerr (A Thom, 72), S Robeson (C), R Stewart; G Paul (A McLean, 56), R Swan (J Beveridge, 62); C McFeat-Smith , A Allen, M McGinley (L Alessandri, 72), M Laboda (B Taylor, 48), J Fisher , M Lowe (C MacGregor, 78), L Calder (E Guy, 38), L Habib (C Tait, 59).

Glasgow Warriors ‘A’: F Watson; A Cross, B Salmon, D Munn, L Trotter (K Johnston, 32, J Vintisei, 62); R Simpson (J Imrie, 62), B Afshar (C); B Bantvala, A Fraser (F Allan, 62), C Norrie (C Milller, 51), R Hart (K Yule, 41), H McLeod (C Smyth, 34), G Brown (M Urwin, 62), J Morris, J Mann.

Referee: Rob McDowell


Scorers –

Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Robeson 2, Reid 2; Cons: Paul 3.

Glasgow Warriors ‘A’: Tries: Morris, Smyth, Simpson; Con: Afshar.

Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir Bears first): 0-5; 5-5; 7-5; 12-5; 14-5; 19-5; 21-5 (h-t) 21-10; 21-15; 21-17; 26-17.


Yellow cards – 

Glasgow Warriors ‘A’: Brown (16 mins)


Player-of-the-Match: From broken play, the most influential player was Ben Afshar of Warriors but he didn’t see enough ball. Instead, the player who did most to secure the result was Scott Robeson, the Bears’ skipper, who claimed two tries and had a hand in both the others so he gets the award.

Talking Point: A strong start to the season for the Bears but a bit of a disaster for Glasgow who not only lost but also picked up a pile of injuries that are going to have a knock-on effect on the rest of their campaign.

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About Lewis Stuart 74 Articles
Lewis has been writing about rugby for almost 40 years, the last 18 as a freelance based in Scotland bringing his wealth fo experience to just about every publication in the country. These days you can hear him as well by tuning in to his Wednesday night show on Rocksport Radio.


  1. Good rehearsal for Glasgow A trying to find a team for next season.

    Grim reality of the consequences of getting rid of super series are appearing quicker than expected….

    • We have been seeing the grim reality of introducing not-so S6 for the last few years. It is frankly laughable to suggest the effects of ending a failed competition are being seen whilst the competition is still in progress.


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