WITH the demands made upon Super Series teams by the pro teams for their respective pre-season friendlier – 17 players who have appeared in the championship this season were in either Edinburgh or Glasgow’s match-day squads – the decision was taken to postpone the Boroughmuir Bears versus Futures XV fixture, which leaves us only two games from which to choose this week’s Dream Team.
Eddie Pollock expressed disappointment at the way his Wolves side ‘imploded completely’ after the unfortunate red card for vice-captain Connor Gordon, and they certainly appeared to be at sixes and sevens for a spell, but nevertheless there were some good line-breaks by the Stirling side, and the experienced Glenn Bryce was involved in a good number of these, so wins selection in the back three, alongside team-mate Ross McKnight on the right wing, who scored a good solo try after coming on as a substitute.
Nikki Walker, the Watsonians coach, enthused about his side’s defence in their away win at the Greenyards, and among those who kept the threatening Knights backs at bay was Scott King who continued his fine run of form on the left wing.
In midfield, the consistently excellent Bobby Beattie wins the inside centre berth on account of his try double for the Bulls, just ahead of the hard tackling Lewis Berg of Watsonians, while Patrick Anderson of Southern Knights continuously threatened for his team, sadly without any end product in terms of tries, but doing enough to earn the No 13 jersey here.
Young Welshman Bradley Roderick-Evans, who came to Millbrae from playing high level BUCS rugby last season, has taken a little while to settle, but had his best game yet for Ayrshire Bulls, kicking four conversions, and scoring an excellent solo try after shifting out one to inside-centre when the subs came on.
At scrum half, Conor McAlpine wins selection after a sniping try for his team, having been very unlucky to miss out last week. It’s great to see McAlpine beginning to fulfil his schoolboy promise having suffered a long period out injured, and good that the Super Series coaches have brought the likes of him and others who have been injured back into the game at this level.
Southern Knights coach Alan Tait said this weekend was his team’s best performance since he became head coach, and that claim is supported with the selection of three Knights forwards in our pack. Jack Dobie get the loose head berth, Theo Nwosu-Hope wins one of the lock positions for his line out work, and Monroe Job fills the No 7 jersey having performed excellently for the second week in a row.
Tait also appealed for more Border lads to commit to the Knights. It has certainly been testing times to see a number of talented Borders players try the Super Series before returning to their clubs yet there is evidence in the performances of people like Job and Dobie as well as Harris Rutherford and Adam Hall this season that Borders talent can develop and flourish at the Knights.
Completing our front-row is the outstanding Jake Kerr who returned to his favoured hooker position after a short sojourn in the Watsonians back row recently, and scored his inevitable try, while substitute Will Farquhar provided a delightful no-look pass in the build up to one of the Bulls tries and for that piece of un-prop like skill alone wins the tight head spot. Moby Ogunluja of the Wolves is unlucky to miss out after an industrious effort.
It was a tight call for the second lock place beside Nwosu-Hope, with young Glasgow schools products Kieran Watt and Rory Jackson both showing increasing influence for their respective teams, but the experienced Ed Bloodworth carries the day after being at the heart of the Bulls winning effort.
Luis Ball of Watsonians is a hard working No 6 who tackles consistently every game, and is the kind of forward others on the park probably appreciate more than spectators. Connor Gordon actually scored the try of the weekend for the Wolves before his sending off, and is unlucky therefore not to be included, but you can’t really select someone red carded so early in the game. In contrast, despite his 10 minutes in the sin bin, it is hard to look past the Bulls skipper Blair Macpherson for the influence he exerted over the rest of the game from his No 8 berth.
15. Glenn Bryce (Stirling Wolves)
14. Ross McKnight (Stirling Wolves)
13. Patrick Anderson (Southern Knights)
12. Robert Beattie (Ayrshire Bulls)
11. Scott King (Watsonians)
10. Bradley Roderick-Evans (Ayrshire Bulls)
9. Conor McAlpine (Watsonians)
1. Jack Dobie (Southern Knights)
2. Jake Kerr (Watsonians)
3. Will Farquhar (Ayrshire Bulls)
4. Theo Nwosu-Hope (Southern Knights)
5. Ed Bloodworth (Ayrshire Bulls)
6. Luis Ball (Watsonians)
7. Monroe Job (Southern Knights)
8. Blair Macpherson (Ayrshire Bulls)