Super Series Championship: Heriot’s lay down early marker versus Boroughmuir Bears

Man-of-the-Match Charlie Jupp leads the charge for Goldenacre men

Skipper Iain Wilson scored Heriots' opening try versus Boroughmuir Bears. Image: Malcolm Mackenzie
Skipper Iain Wilson scored Heriots' opening try versus Boroughmuir Bears. Image: Malcolm Mackenzie

Boroughmuir Bears 14

Heriot’s 51

COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland

HERIOT’S made an early statement of intent when they eased to a bonus point win in theiropening fixture of the FOSOC Super Series campaign. The Goldenacre side took time to settle but once they found their stride they produced some outstanding rugby. Bears, who were missing several players through injury and under-20s duty, performed well in flashes, but never looked likely to bounce back after conceding three first half tries without reply.       

Heriot’s coach Ben Cairns praised his men for their performance, saying: “We’re delighted to put that kind of scoreline on a quality side. There are bits we can do better, but we played some really good stuff. I thought the foundations of our game were really good. We kicked pretty well, our set-piece went well. That set us up and I thought there were some really nice classy moments.”

However, he is conscious of the fact that Bears were well short of full strength, adding: “They are undercooked and they have a few guys to come back, so they will get stronger from here, but it’s a good start for us. We were probably set up to start well because we only had three new players to the club.”

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His counterpart, Graham Shiel, knows there will be better days ahead. He was forced to call up several players as emergency cover, admitting: “Our squad is at the bare bones at the moment, although that affords opportunities for other guys. We blooded a few who have never played at this level before. Whilst it’s difficult to accept the result, that’s the reality. There’s a lot of criticism around the competition but we’ve brought in some young players and there is a big gulf between where they have been operating and where they need to operate.”

Of the performance, he said: “It’s tough to take obviously. I knew it was going to be tough against Heriot’s, who are a good side and are very settled. We’ve got a number of moving parts and we just weren’t at the races. We turned over possession and they capitalised on it. We had very little territory and you can’t win games at this level when that’s the case.”

The opening exchanges were notable only for errors by both sides and there were five minutes on the clock before either side visited the opposition 22. That came courtesy of a penalty despatched into touch by Bruce Houston, and another offence yielded a second penalty in front of the posts, with the stand off opting for the three points.

That sparked Bears into life and they enjoyed a spell of pressure that stretched the visitors’ defence without posing any threat to the line.

Heriot’s extended their advantage after 20 minutes. A line-out 10 metres out was gathered by Charlie Jupp and the ensuing maul ended with Iain Wilson resuming where he left off in the Sprint Series and stretching over for a try. Houston added the extras via the post for a 10 point lead.

The gap continued to grow as Heriot’s clicked through the gears and a multi-phase attack ended with Sinjin Broad popping a pass up for Houston to dot down in the corner. And the hosts were left facing a massive task when George Barber freed Jupp to thunder over for try number three, with Houston slotting the conversion.


A rapid response was essential, and Bears produced that with an attack that drew a penalty in front of the Heriot’s posts. A tap and go by Arthur Allen was foiled just shy of the line, but Jack Fisher completed the task at the second time of asking, and Gavin Lockhart stroked over the conversion to offer the hosts a glimmer of hope at the interval.

However, the deficit was back to 20 points within two minutes of the restart when Broad picked up at a close range scrum and darted down the wing for the bonus point score. And the visitors continued to harvest points, with a slick handling move sending Lewis Wells in for try number five.

Heriot’s piled on further pressure and Matt Davidson was next on the scoresheet when his elusive running allowed him to slice through the opposition defence. And the same player found a gaping hole to race in with 10 minutes left – Houston converting.

Heriot’s breached the half century when Ross Jones raced onto his own chip to bag try number eight before Houston added the extras.

Bears had the last word when Josh King hammered his way over from a close range penalty, and Callum Anderson converted. But that did little to dampen the satisfaction of a job well done by Heriot’s.


Teams –

Boroughmuir Bears: C Ramm (E Muirhead 54); M Cullen, A Thom, S Robeson (C Anderson 55), J Jenkins; G Lockhart (C Anderson 49), R Swann (J Beveridge 71), L Alessandri (K Crainey 69), A Allen (Z Griffiths 78), M McGinley (M Goodwin 71), M Loboda (L Habib 69), J Fisher, J King, S McGinley, C Keddie© (K Westlake 54).

Heriot’s: R Jones; G Barber, M Davidson, G Hughes (F Campbell 61 (B Evans 67)), L Wells; B Houston, S Broad (E McAra 53); C Keen (J Scott 53), M Liness (C Fenton 50), E McLaren (S Cessford 53), R Seydak, J Campbell, C Jupp (W Nelson 67), I Wilson© (B Smith 50), C Anderson.

Referee: Ian Kenny


Scorers –

Boroughmuir: Tries:  Fisher, King; Cons: Lockhart, Anderson.

Heriot’s: Tries: Wilson, Houston, Jupp, Broad, Wells, Davidson 2, Jones; Cons : Houston 4; Pen:- Houston.

Scoring sequence: 0-3; 0-8; 0-10; 0-15; 0-20; 0-22; 5-22; 7-22 (h-t) 7-27; 7-32; 7-37;  7-42; 7-44; 7-49; 7-51; 12-51; 14-51.


Man-of-the-Match: Heriot’s had several contenders, with Matt Davidson catching the eye, and the half-backs performing well, but Charlie Jupp was outstanding in the set piece and the loose, and clinched the award with a try.

Talking point: Heriot’s showed signs of improvement during the Sprint Series and, while one match offers limited insight, the upward trajectory appears to be continuing.

Super Series round one Saturday preview: Ayrshire Bulls host Watsonians

About Colin Renton 296 Articles
Colin has been a freelance writer on various subjects for more than 20 years. He covers rugby at all levels but is particularly passionate about the game at grass roots. As a fluent French speaker, he has a keen interest in rugby in France and for many years has reported on the careers of Scots who have moved across the Channel. He appreciates high quality, engaging writing that is thought provoking, and hopes that some of his work fits that bill!


  1. What do club members think of the current state of Boroughmuir RFC? The Bears are playing the Super 7 game of developing young players but are not competitive against most of the opposition who have a more pragmatic approach towards winning. Meanwhile the club side is sliding down the league pyramid. Is this accepted by members? Are there contrary views?

  2. Shiel has led a charmed life in rugby .
    Just talks out his backside . Mostly doom & gloom
    Name a position he’s been successful in .?
    You’ll find it hard .
    Another one seemingly with a job within Murrayfield for life .

  3. What a glorious triumph for Heriot’s beating a team that needed to loan players from Nat 2 that had only had one session of pre season….I’m sure the Bear will be along soon to defend Dodson n tell us all how excellent this is for everyone!

    • Make your comments by all means but why goad others – at least Ian Milne posts under his own name rather than a nickname.

  4. Unfortunately I think this demonstrates the issue with the Super 6; the teams who select a more experienced squad (Ayr, Watsonians and today Heriots) tend to win. While yes Heriots have picked some young lads like Lewis Wells and the duo from Loughborough, the spine of that team (Liness, Seydak, Wilson, Jones among others) is not exactly what you’d call developmental. The same goes for the other sides who have had success in Ayr and Watsonians. Boroughmuir pick a lot more young lads, including a few making a significant step up from Under 18s last year, and are rewarded with a 37 point hammering. The same could be said for the Southern Knights in recent years: the team most willing to give young players a go most consistently also finds itself at the bottom. I do believe that there needs to be a stage or bridge between the Premiership and the pro teams, but Super 6 seems to be confused as to what it is. Is it a way to get promising young players playing a better standard in a setup more akin to a professional environment? Is it about finding gems or late bloomers who may have been missed by academies and scouts to be signed by Edinburgh and Glasgow? Is it about making sure that the fringes of the pro teams get match experience so as not to stagnate if not picked in URC games? At the moment it seems like Super 6 is trying to do all 3 and achieving none to a significant enough degree. Young lads don’t get picked, few players have stepped up to play professionally (only Tom Jordan really springs to mind) and the pro players end up coming in for one or two games, put in a MoM performance, and then leave again having barely been tested.

    • As a player who was fortunate enough to get to the top and one who also played some age group rugby all I can say is that I learned a lot more playing alongside seasoned pros than I ever did playing with my peers. Yes there is a balance but slowly ( we’ve only had 3 years) the correct balance is coming. There are some class youngsters who will be learning a lot playing with experienced players. I might also add this is not just about the development of players but also coaches, strength and conditioning personnel and other back room staff.

    • By my count 14 of the Heriot’s match day squad were 24 years old or under (most of them 22 and under). I am clearly not as well educated in rugby as you are Mr Tombola, however to me that looks like an almost perfect blend of youth and experience?

      Why let the facts get in the way of the keyboard warriors 😉

      • And how many semi-pro 24 year olds are getting signed by Edinburgh or Glasgow? 24 isn’t really young anymore, especially not in professional rugby. As sad as it is, it seems like if you’re not knocking on the door of professional by that point then the odds of it happening aren’t overly promising. Yes you can point to exceptions but that does not negate the general trend. There isn’t enough squad room to take a chance on players who aren’t demonstrably at the pro standard. Tom Jordan was picked up by Glasgow aged 24 off the back of being among the top players in a title-winning side. Even Bruce Houston, who was another standout, was deemed not worthy of a contract extension by Edinburgh. But regardless of that he’s always going to shine against an opposite man who was an Under 18 last year. Even if we’re generous and say that many are 22, that’s still 4 years further on than some of those selected for Boroughmuir, and likely 4 years in a semi-pro environment. My point remains, more senior team tends to win in this competition.


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