Super Series: Edinburgh ‘A’ see off Watsonians to end campaign unbeaten

Grant second-row Rob Carmichael stars for pro back-up side

Edinburgh 'A got the better of Watsonians at Meggetland in round five of the Super Series Sprint. Image: Pater Wat
Edinburgh 'A got the better of Watsonians at Meggetland in round five of the Super Series Sprint. Image: Pater Watt

Watsonians 14

Edinburgh ‘A’ 21

COLIN RENTON @ Meggetland

EDINBURGH ‘A’ ended their involvement in the FOSROC Super Series Sprint with an unbeaten record after seeing off a gutsy Watsonians side that continues to make progress, although that development is not yet reflected in results. Both sides featured some impressive young players, while Edinburgh also had several seasoned pros in their ranks, and that combination ensured a decent game in tricky conditions.   

Edinburgh coach Kris Burney was pleased to have posted a third successive victory and he acknowledged that Watsonians had offered a stern test.

“We asked the boys to be resilient. We had a few boys playing out of position and some young boys on the pitch at the end. We lost our way a wee bit in the middle – a couple of simple errors let them back into the game – but it is about learning for the young boys. We were hanging on by a thread at the end there but it was pleasing to go undefeated,” he said, before pointing out the benefits of being involved in the competition.

“Almost every academy player has played over the course of the season, so, in terms of a development tool it has been good,” he pointed out.


Glasgow Warriors URC play-off quarter-final time and venue confirmed

His Watsonians counterpart Fraser Brown continues to see development in his squad, stating: “The last 15-20 minutes, I thought we played really well. We had a lot of momentum. We spurned plenty of opportunities. The one at the end was a well-constructed maul but we lacked a bit of accuracy and that’s what killed us.”

Nevertheless, he identified plenty of positives, adding: “We defended well and I thought we scrummed really well. That’s a top quality scrum that we were up against. We’ve not won again but if you compare where we are from a scrum point of view and a maul point of view with week one against Heriot’s, it’s completely different. There is tangible growth in terms of what we’re trying to do. It’s a bit frustrating that it’s not translating into results.”

Both sides used penalties to touch to launch early attacks, but solid defences at each end ensured the scoreboard remained blank until the 12th minute when the pro outfit bagged the first points. The Watsonians defence repelled several close-range efforts before Rob Carmichael crashed between two defenders and stretched his near seven-foot frame over the line. Charlie Shiel banged over the conversion.

The gap grew five minutes later when a multi-phase effort softened up the host side’s defence and Shiel fired a pass that was perfectly weighted for the onrushing Paddy Harrison who hurtled over, with the try’s creator again adding the extras.

Watsonians cut the deficit when Conor McAlpine, who had looked lively in the opening quarter, pounced on a loose ball and darted away to dot down in the corner, with Jason Baggott thumping over the kick.

Edinburgh responded with try number three. Shiel made a break and linked with Nairn Moncrieff before several forwards combined to drive over and, when the greasy ball squirted into the air, Harrison reacted quickest to gather and touch down, with Shiel again converting.

Watsonians ended the half strongly but failed to convert several minutes of sustained pressure into points and went in at the break 14 points adrift.

 

The second period started with a bout of kicking and when the scoring eventually resumed it was Watsonians who claimed seven points. Freddie Owsley gathered on the edge of the 22 and slalomed past a handful of defenders for a fine solo effort, with Baggott adding the extras.

The hosts had their tails up and their in-your-face style was causing the pros to commit a growing number of errors. However, the score remained unchanged entering the final quarter, but Watsonians were still enjoying the bulk of the possession without adding to their tally, largely owing to a misfiring line-out that repeatedly handed possession to the opposition, albeit the towering presence of Carmichael posed some difficult questions.

The frantic pace started to take its toll, with several men going down with cramp in the closing stages. With the clock ticking towards the final minute, Baggott hammered a penalty to touch deep into opposition territory. That created the platform for a final assault on the Edinburgh line, but Owsley failed to latch onto a pass from Dom Coetzer and the pro side held on to clinch the win.

 

Teams –

Watsonians: D Coetzer; R Coetzer (L Macpherson 65), J Mitchell (A McInnes 75), L Berg, F Owsley; J Baggott, C McAlpine (M Scott 75); R Deans (C Davidson 63), F Duraj (G Parry 46), C Lamberton (B Bratton 63), J Berrisford, J Parkinson, K Van Niekerk (O Gordon 62), S Cecil, N Irvine-Hess ©.

Edinburgh Rugby ‘A’: J Brown, N Moncrieff, S Leweni (C Bekcett 79), J Hocking (J Townshend 38), F Douglas; F Burgess (H Patterson 52), C Shiel; L de Bruin, P Harrison (H Morris 52), A Williams ©, E McVie (M Fyffe 52), R Carmichael, A McBurney (P Harrison 76), F Douglas (J Blyth-Lafferty 34), T Currie.

Referee: Jonny Perriam

 

Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: McAlpine, Owsley; Cons: Baggott 2

Edinburgh ‘A’: Tries: Carmichael, Harrison 2; Cons: Shiel 3.

Scoring sequence (Watsonians first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 0-14; 5-14; 7-14; 7-19; 7-21 (h-t) 12-21; 14-21.

 

Man-of-the-Match: Conor McAlpine and Freddie Owsley caught the eye for Watsonians, while Edinburgh were well served by Paddy Harrison and the man who eventually earned the nod, Rob Carmichael.

Talking point: The consistent performances of Edinburgh ‘A’ in this competition are proof that regular game time is essential to keep squad players sharp, and this underlines the need for a fuller programme of matches next season.


Super Series Saturday preview: Heriot’s v Southern Knights and Boroughmuir Bears v Stirling Wolves

About Colin Renton 294 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!