Super Series: strong second half sees Heriot’s home against improved Future XV

Goldenacre men bounce back after trailing at the break

Heriot's kept in touch with Super Series pace-setters Ayrshire Bulls with a bonus-point win over the FOSROC Future XV. Image: Craig Murray
Heriot's kept in touch with Super Series pace-setters Ayrshire Bulls with a bonus-point win over the FOSROC Future XV. Image: Craig Murray

Heriot’s 45

Future XV 14

COLIN RENTON @ Goldenacre

ON the face of it, this was a routine win for Heriot’s against a side still reeling from a heavy loss the previous week. In reality, the score line tells only part of the story. It took a second half transformation by the home side to deliver all five league points against a Future XV side that deservedly led at the break and showed plenty of enterprise.

The half-time team talk from Heriot’s coach Ben Cairns certainly had an impact on his men, who had not performed the basics well in the opening 40 minutes.

“It was easy in that we knew exactly what we had to do second half to rectify things.” he said. “Rugby’s a pretty simple game – if you get your fundamentals right around your setpiece, you hold the ball for phases and put the other team under pressure, you’ll probably find some holes. First half I didn’t think we held the ball well enough. Second half we just tried to focus on going through a few more phases and that seemed to work.”

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Having suffered a drubbing against Stirling Wolves, the Future XV needed a positive showing, and what they produced was satisfying for coach Scott Forrest.

“Visibly, there’s some more positives than last week,” he stated. “Coming off the back of a heavy loss, it’s tough to deal with. Credit to this group of players. They are a young group of boys and a lot of them have not experienced that before. It’s tough, but they worked hard in their regions Monday and Tuesday, we came together Thursday and they worked really hard.

“They wanted to learn, they had to learn fast. In the first 40 minutes, you saw some of that, but ultimately we don’t have the depth right now. We still don’t have a number of players that are being rested. They will come back over the next few weeks.”

There were certainly signs of positivity as the youngsters set about their task in impressive style. Ollie Duncan was prominent with a couple of early carries and a first foray by the visitors into the opposition 22 yielded two penalties. Tom Banatvala was held up over the line, but the momentum was firmly with the Future XV side and they deservedly took the lead in eight minutes when Tom Currie made ground and Finn Duraj was the link man for Callum Ferrie to race in. Isaac Coates banged over the conversion.

That breakthrough proved the catalyst for a period of pressure that saw Ben Riley come close and Banatvala have another strong carry. Heriot’s were struggling to generate any momentum, and the lacklustre hosts were fortunate to avoid falling further behind as the Future XV ended the first quarter in the ascendancy.

With 29 minutes on the clock, they paid the price for failing to capitalise on that pressure. A Heriot’s penalty booted into touch created the platform for a maul that ended with Sam Wallace hurtling over for an unconverted score.

The home side had a chance to repeat the move a couple of minutes later but the ball was spilled in contact, an error that was swiftly followed by a missed touch, two squint line-out throws and an intercepted pass as the hosts stuttered towards the interval.

Indeed, they were fortunate to trail by only two points at half-time after Freddy Douglas was held up over the line and only a last-ditch tackle by George Barber prevented Conor McAlpine from going over.

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There was a spring in the step as the youngsters returned for the second half, but there were also signs of greater urgency in the home ranks. And they took the lead with their first attack of the half. Ronan Seydak was halted just short of the whitewash and the recycled ball was swept along the line to Barber who dotted down in the corner.

That was enough to spark a turnaround in fortunes, Sam Pecqueur just failed to gather a cross kick from Ross Jones and Fin Campbell had a charge-down that bobbled over the dead ball line. However, he made no mistake a minute later when he dived over from the ensuing scrum, leaving Jones with a straightforward conversion.

Future XV struck back almost instantly when Jack Hocking pounced on hesitancy in the home ranks to gather and race in from 25 metres, with Coates adding the extras to cut the deficit to three points.

The Heriot’s response came in the form of the bonus-point try with Campbell sparking the move and Dan King running strongly to cut through the opposition defence. Bruce Houston booted the conversion, and for the first time there was a feeling that Heriot’s were in control.

The gap grew a couple of minutes later when Matt Davidson pirouetted through the Future XV defence for try number five, with Houston again converting.

Liam Richman kept the scoreboard ticking over when he sprinted in between the sticks, leaving Houston with another simple conversion. And the scoring was completed when Wallace blasted his way over for a second time, with Houston converting.


Teams –

Heriot’s: L Richman; B Evans (G Barber 18), M Davidson, D King, S Pecqueur (B Houston 53); R Jones © (G Hughes 64), E McAra (F Campbell 40); S Cessford (E McLaren 78), M Liness (S Wallace 8), C Ramsay (J Scott 26), R Seydak, J Campbell, D Hood, W Nelson, B Smith.

Future XV: J Hocking (J Hocking 70); B Riley, J Craig (O Duncan 50), C Ferrie (L Townsend 60), A Caqusau; I Coates, C McAlpine (R Cadzow 40); T Banatvala (R Deans 40), F Duraj, O Minnis (E McGeoch 70), C Nolan (G McKinnon 50), R Burke, T Currie© (L Fergusson 60) F Douglas (R Cromar 70), O Duncan.

Referee: Jonny Perriam


Scorers –

Heriot’s:  Tries: Wallace 2, Barber, Campbell, King, Davidson, Richman; Cons: Jones, Houston 4

Future XV:  Tries: Ferrie, Hocking; Cons: Coates 2.

Scoring sequence (Heriot’s first): 0-5; 0-7; 5-7 (h-t), 10-7; 15-7; 17-7; 17-12; 17-14; 22-14; 24-14; 29-14; 31-14; 36-14; 38-14; 43-14; 45-14.


Man-of-the-Match:  George Barber and Sam Wallace came off the bench early and both were contenders, but Wallace earned the nod for his solid shift and try double.

Talking point: The Future XV performed well, and were still in the contest after 50 minutes. They will improve over the coming weeks, although they would almost certainly benefit from having a sprinkling of maturity and experience to balance their youthful exuberance.

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About Colin Renton 288 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. @Jim. You’re correct. I’ve been monitoring the wingers in age-group rugby since last season. Based on what I’ve seen in person at Prem and Super Series games, and from watching u20 international games on tv, there are boys at advanced stages in the Academy set-up that simply aren’t as effective as some that aren’t part of the set-up at all. Going by what others have said, I believe the same situation exists within the forward positions.

    The problem is that having invested in the Academy players for years, bringing in an ‘outsider’ to replace them would be an admission by the coaches that they had failed to develop a player sufficiently, or had selected incorrectly to begin with. They’re not going to do that.

    • “….there are boys at advanced stages in the Academy set-up that simply aren’t as effective as some that aren’t part of the set-up at all” So where are all these players? Surely, as you have been monitoring them and are aware of them, pray to tell us their names, clubs and positions.

  2. Scotia appears hell bent on finding a negative with the Futures boys who played some cracking rugby for a good hour yesterday. I’m glad these kids continue to have a hugely positive attitude to what they are only too well aware will be an attritional season. They led 7-5 at the break and were well worth another couple of tries. Yes, Heriot’s bolstered by a couple of their experienced stars were well worth their victory – but the margin of the scoreline flattered them. Scotia’s underlying frustration smacks of a long time loathing of the SRU and I might even agree with him on a few points there. But, please, don’t take that frustration out on the kids giving their all week in, week out. And despite his misgivings, there is plenty of quality throughout the team.

    • @Alltalk, I don’t see where I’ve ever been negative about the Futures boys, in fact, I never have. I’ve certainly been critical of the whole concept of a Futures XV, and I’ll stick 100% to that, and I’ve also questioned selection decisions for the Futures, which again I think is totally valid.

      The boys themselves have absolutely no input on either of these things. They’re exempt from any criticism, I’m sure they give they’re all and there will be plenty of good players in amongst them, all crying out for experienced heads to help them.

  3. Heriot’s made a load of changes but still ended up winning by over 30 points. Amazing what you can put a positive spin on if you’re desperate enough!

    Again names appear in the Futures XV that struggled to be selected for National League sides last season. Now they’re suddenly Super Series players, while other (still Futures eligible) teenagers that played regularly in the Prem are nowhere to be seen. Utterly bizarre selection policy at times.

    • Yes I get the feeling quite a few were playing under 18 rather than premiership last year and also that there are a few regional academies feeding into the tombola selection process. Good to see McAlpine back -a stand out pre injury.

    • Name names then. There always seems to be the mass amount of players were missing out on or players that are not good enough. Yet nobody ever says who?

      Maybe the Sru need to be pointed in the players direction you say are getting missed out on?

      • The SRU can’t name names that would put certain boys on a pedestal to be compared to boys playing 1st team rugby in the premiership and Nat 1 who are clearly better. Thus highlighting what an absolute farce the current selection criteria is.

    • Name names. Maybe the Sru need pointed in the direction of all the players there missing out on?.


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