Super Series: Heriot’s return to top spot with comfortable win over Future XV

Lewis Wells scores a hat-trick for the hosts

Grant Hughes opened the scoring for Heriot's versus the Future XV. Image: Peter Watt
Grant Hughes opened the scoring for Heriot's versus the Future XV. Image: Peter Watt

Heriot’s 43

Future XV 14

COLIN RENTON @ Goldenacre

HERIOT’S regained top spot in the FOSROC Super Series table with plenty to spare as they cantered to a third win in nine days. Coach Ben Cairns showed the full depth of his squad, making several changes for the clash with the youngsters, who have struggled to make an impact on the competition. And, although they fell behind early in the game, the Goldenacre men rarely looked in danger of losing. While the result represents a ninth successive loss for the development side, they showed resilience and character as well as an improvement from the drubbing they suffered at the hands of Stirling Wolves in their most recent outing. 

Despite the relentless run of defeats, Future XV coach Scott Forrest sees signs of progress and grounds for optimism. “The bit we’re focusing on is the performance and there were some positive parts of that performance,” he said. “That’s a big step forward. Last Friday night against Wolves, it was tough to find the positives whereas today there’s some frustration because we feel we missed some opportunities.”

The purpose of the side’s inclusion in the competition is to help players expected to be involved in the age-group national sides who would otherwise struggle for game-time. With that in mind, Forrest sees progress, adding: “Defensively, we’ve conceded a lot of points today, but the system, the structure, the boys buying into getting off the line to make some physical shots was night and day to what it was las Friday. In attack, we scored a couple of very good tries. I feel we missed a few opportunities, but there are positives.

“If you look at the stats for the season, we’re top of the charts for ruck turnovers.”


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In the Heriot’s camp, it was all about concluding a busy run of fixtures on a winning note. Achieving that was a source of satisfaction for Cairns, who said: “We were a bit frustrated with our levels of accuracy but we’re happy to get through a tough nine days.”

This was also an opportunity to confirm the strength in depth of his squad and he added: “Throughout the season guys on the edge of our squad have come on and done well for us. We backed that today. Some boys took their chance and some didn’t, but we had to find that out.”

The Future XV made a bright start and had the better of the early kicking exchanges. However, they failed to ask questions of the Heriot’s defence until the seventh minute when they deservedly took the lead. Liam McConnell took clean ball at a line-out inside the home 22 and it was shipped out to Finn Douglas who cut back inside to create the platform for a series of attacks that ended when Finn Burgess freed Kerr Yule to dart in between the sticks for the opening score and leave Isaac Coates a simple conversion.

Heriot’s responded in kind with a penalty booted into touch that was slickly switched to Grant Hughes who exhibited his pace to race past three defenders then change his angle of running to complete the task. Ross Jones stroked over the conversion to restore parity.

That score provided the impetus for Heriot’s to take control. However, the youngsters weathered the initial storm, holding up Sam Wallace over the line then escaping unpunished when a charged-down Coates kick ricocheted to safety.

However, the momentum was firmly with the home side and the inevitable score came after 23 minutes when the ball was worked out to Hughes who drew the final defender and lobbed an overhead pass to Lewis Wells, who darted over. Jones again added the extra two points.

Heriot’s extended their lead six minutes before the break when another spell of pressure ended with George Barber offloading to Liam Richman – on as a sub for the injured Hughes – who sent Wells in for a second time.

The Future XV clawed their way back into the match when Freddy Douglas burst clear and found Jonny Morris in support for a clear run to the line, with Coates adding the extras.

However, Heriot’s responded with the final play of the half when Charlie Jupp raced away. Richman took the lock’s pass and thought about offloading, but decided instead to go it alone and he squeezed over in the corner for the bonus-point try. Jones banged over the conversion to send the hosts in at the interval with a 12-point lead.

 

The deficit grew six minutes after the restart when Jones fed Wells on the edge of the opposition 22 and the winger showed his pace and strength as he rounded one defender then swept through two tackles to complete his hat-trick.

The rhythm of the game dipped as both sides made several changes and it took more than 20 minutes for the next points to arrive. And it was the hosts who claimed them – a line-out drive ending with Michael Liness applying the final touch.

There was still time for Heriot’s to bolster their winning margin and the Future XV contributed to it with a bout of uncertainty over whether to kick or run from inside the 22. In the end they did neither and Sam Pecqueur was the beneficiary  as he pounced to claim a try, converted by Jones which completed a satisfying afternoon for Heriot’s.

 

Teams – 

Heriot’s: D King (M Davidson 73); L Wells, G Barber, G Hughes © (L Richman 30), S Pecqueur; R Jones, E McAra (S Broad; J Scott (C Keen 45), D Hood (M Liness 45), S Cessford (C Ramsay 45), C Jupp (R Seydak 64), J Campbell (R Leishman 64), W Nelson, S Wallace, C Anderson.

Future XV: J Hocking (C Norrie 64); K Johnston, B Salmon, K Yule (M Urwin 63), Finn Douglas; I Coates, F Burgess (J Beveridge 48); T Banatvala (M Brogan 70), J Blyth-Lafferty (J Shearer 70), C Norrie (O Blyth-Lafferry 58), L McConnell (R Burke 40), R Hart, T Currie ©, Freddy Douglas (C Nolan 70), J Morris.

Referee: Jonny Perriam

 

Scorers –

Heriot’s:  Tries: Hughes, Wells 3, Richman, Liness, Pecqueur; Cons: Jones 4.

Future XV: Tries: Yule, Morris; Cons: Coates 2.

Scoring sequence (Heriot’s first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7; 7-7; 7-12; 7-14; 19-7; 19-12; 19-14; 24-14; 26-14 (h-t) 31-14; 36-14; 41-14; 43-14.

 

Man-of-the-Match: Sam Wallace was a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, still foraging for turnovers in the dying minutes, but he was pipped by Lewis Wells who showed his range of finishing skills to bag a hat-trick.

Talking point: The Future XV looked set to make this competitive when they opened the scoring, but they were ultimately on the wrong end of another drubbing. The upcoming Six Nations will show whether the decision to include them in the competition was the right one.


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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!

19 Comments

  1. Someone has rightly pointed out that 11 out of 18 starting props have been Under 20 – Norrie, Deans and Smyth. The others who have started Banatvala (u22) Rogers (u21) and Ogunluja (u21) are a year or two old. Banatvala is still in the Academy, and having missed a huge stretch of time with injury, now looks to be making up for lost time with some solid performances.

    Lots of the substitute props are under 20 qualified – Aaron Cameron (u20) (who was named in the Futures XV squad for this season but seems to be playing more for his university side (Newcastle) Ben White (u19/Biggar) and Jake Shearer (u19/Ayr) on the loose head, and Eben Cairns (U20/Hawks) Rob Cromar (u19/Heriots) and Ollie Blyth Lafferty (u18/Currie) on the tight head side

    Bearing in mind that Zander Fagerson is by Scottish standards a freak physically, and very few young Scots develop as props before they are in their mid 20s, it is at least to be hoped this increased exposure will help the development of some. Ashton Asante (u20) Angus MacGregor(u19) and Ross Brown (u20) have all had decent playing time in premier 1 for their respective sides, Kelso and Musselburgh, and below that Cole Stirling (u19/GHA) and Ollie Bowden(u19/Heriots) are there or thereabouts their 1st team squads

    Although it is in a lower league at one point on Saturday Stirling County had a front row of Jay Richards (u19) Archie Inglis (u19) and Mikey Kesson (u18) against the more experienced John McKenna and Kevin Crainey of Falkirk and they did not look out of place. Well done to County for investing in them

    Scotland always draws on the exiles for front 5 forwards at Under 20 level and no doubt this season there will be one or two unfamiliar names from the BUCS league brought in. I note that former Wasps prop Cam Aitchison is playing for Newcastle Uni this year and Keita Ando who played for Scotland U18 last year while at Sedburgh appears to be in the Exeter Academy now.

    There is no one resembling the Bear in there, but we need to encourage this exposure of those young props we do have in the hope we might at least develop a Baby Bear

  2. Assuming these lads are next the future U20’s and all the game time they are getting is supposed to prepare them to play against bigger stronger opponents. What about the props. I think we can all agree the present incumbents have been next to useless in both Internationals and Super6. Where are the next lot. The front row at the moment is made up of boys over 20. Presuming we have some somewhere how are they being readied to front up against the Irish the French and the Italians who have steamrolled Scotland for the past 3 years.

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    • Apologies if I’ve missed the point here, but the Future XV, are not always, but typically still U20. I make it 10 starts from 18 for the props and 15 from 18 on the bench U20.

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    • Obviously didn’t watch the match on Sunday … first scrum dominant and second won scrum pen …. Carried on throughout until last 20’

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  3. Does anyone know how Scotland U20 is going to qualify for Junior World Rugby Trophy since they aren’t entering European qualifiers?

    • I believe Europe gets an automatic qualifier next year. Had Uruguay won the final, then Spain would have been that team, or any European team relegated from the top tier championship. As it is Scotland don’t need to qualify.

      • No, there are 8 teams: hosts, relegated team from Championship (Japan) and one per continental body. Scotland needs to either host the tournament or be the Rugby Europe entrant.

  4. Train as a team? Tall order. They’ve used no less than 68 players (sourced, signed, borrowed & pinched from all over the place) in 9 games so far, Iain…..

    Another sign that “they” are making all of this up, at least on a weekly basis, as they skip merrily along – oblivious.

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  5. The main issue from last year was the lack of game-time our U20’s were obtaining. That is no longer an issue at least.

    It would be nice to see a sprinkling of professional players help balance out the side. 2 different each week from Edinburgh and 2 from Glasgow each week. Imagine the boost these young men would get having an experienced head such as Hamish Watson/WP Nel in the pack or Ali Price/Kyle Steyn in the backs organising. Just have to weigh up the benefits/costs to the immediate pro-team success over potential benefit in long-run.

    It will be interesting to see the levels of performance come Six Nations.

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  6. There were an awful lot of silly mistakes from futures today… personal level stuff, gotta say that the ref let Heriots away with quite a bit today. two slap downs various not straights. But is that just with my future coloured watching spectacles on 🤷‍♂️ Once again brief glimpses of something but mistakes ruthlessly crushed by Heriots, make no mistake set pieces were far better today, possibly as it was a better forward pack today but when McConnell left at half time for an injury, things didn’t go quite so well… decent effort… and much better than last weeks submission.

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  7. I still can’t get my head around how a team, presumably comprised of players spread all over Scotland, can actually train regularly.
    Or is the answer that players based in the central belt get picked more often that those from further flung areas?

    Still To he convinced that losing every week is going to improve their mentality moving into 6 N’s mode.

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  8. With all due respect Iain , I don’t think you will have played in a team being hammered nearly every week, I can assure you it doesn’t help your own personal development as a player or your team . Players need to be stretched ,pushed to help them fully realise their potential. But parachuting them into a competition where opponents every week are physically stronger, more street wise,( and they will play in a manner that will exploit this) is not helping these young players. They deserve better.

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    • I know what you mean, but in a way, the futures is an attempt to address exactly this problem in the 6 Nations. They do need to be challenged to prepare for that competition. If we are sticking with the Futures, it clearly needs adjusting so the lads are more competitive. A “pre-season” would help. But as someone else mentioned, having the odd gnarly pro might help, too.

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  9. Including the Futures team in the competition can only help them as a team and as individuals, whether it’s enough to reverse the fortunes of our U20’s in their 6 Nations only time will tell.

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    • Train as a team? Tall order. They’ve used no less than 68 players (sourced, signed, borrowed & pinched from all over the place) in 9 games so far, Iain…..

      Another sign that “they” are making all of this up, at least on a weekly basis, as they skip merrily along – oblivious.

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      • Ron, I think the concept is sound: train and play as a unit; play games where the opponent is physically stronger (upfront) is exactly what our age group teams require. Totally agree that the delivery has been shambolic and needs a rethink about the ability to deliver the original aims.

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      • Cheers, Ronnie – exactly, and no fault of those at the coal face (players, coaches, management) charged with making it all work in the absence of a suitable joined-up structure and adequate resources, linked to the U-20’s programme that desperately needs a shot in the arm. (Maybe also U-18 / Youth level, too.)

        We see an obvious disconnect within the “system”, and clearly the experience of learning to lose heavily every week due to mis-matches won’t be 100% positive to Scotland’s aspiring young talent.

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