Super Series: Heriot’s secure third place with home win over Watsonians

Ed of season vibe as capita rivals face-off at Goldenacre

Josh Scott of Heriot's is tackled by Finn Duraj of Watsonians during the FOSROC Super Series Sprint play-off at Goldemacre. Image: Malcolm Mackenzie
Josh Scott of Heriot's is tackled by Finn Duraj of Watsonians during the FOSROC Super Series Sprint play-off at Goldemacre. Image: Malcolm Mackenzie

Heriot’s 40

Watsonians 17

COLIN RENTON @ Goldenacre

HERIOT’S signed off from Super Series rugby on a winning note, taking the honours, and securing third spot in the Sprint competition, after a match that featured some decent rugby but had an end-of-term feel to it. Ultimately, the hosts deserved their success after getting the better of their city rivals at the scrum and unleashing their attacking potency at key moments.

For their part, Watsonians contributed a lot to the contest and finished the game strongly to restore some pride.

While he enjoyed his final day in charge, Heriot’s coach Ben Cairns admitted that it was odd seeing the semi-pro tier come to an end. “It’s a bit weird because it’s the last one. I think it will set in more next week in terms of it being finished, but in terms of the last game, beating our close rivals fairly comfortably at home in the sun was a good way to bow out”, he said.


URC quarter-final: Glasgow prevail at the death to see off Stormers

Super Series Final: Ayrshire Bulls defeat Stirling Wolves to bow out on top

Analysis: Scottish Rugby needs a real plan for life after Super Series


And commenting on his own situation, he added, “As it stands I don’t have anything. The difference between me and the players is that it’s my job full-time, it’s part-time for them. I want to remain a full-time coach and that means moving on.”

That uncertainty also apples to his counterpart, Fraser Brown, who also wants to remain in a full time position.

Of the match, Brown said, “The whole day was pretty flat, to be honest. It’s going to be the case when you’re in a third/fourth play-off at the end of the competition that’s not happening again. Physically we probably weren’t really there – you can’t really blame the guys for that. It was a hard day for them. I thought our backs were good and we ended on a positive with two really good tries. I think if we had been a little bit more clinical and patient in the previous six games, we would have scored a lot more points. I guess that’s frustrating and pleasing at the same time.”

The opening phase of the game saw both sides applying boot to ball and the first points of the afternoon came with 11 minutes on the clock. A Heriot’s penalty inside the opposition 22 was banged into touch and a powerful drive at the ensuing lineout ended with Wallace Nelson dotting down for a try, converted by Dan King.

The Watsonians half-backs looked lively as the visitors sought to fight back and their efforts yielded a penalty. Jason Baggott opted for touch rather than going for the posts, and he was on hand to plunge over after a subsequent two-phase attack. However, he was off target with the conversion, leaving a two point gap as the game entered the second quarter.

The hosts struck again in 27 minutes following another penalty award. Employing the same routine of kicking for touch and a surge by the pack, they hurtled towards the line and when the drive was halted illegally just short of the whitewash, the referee awarded a penalty try and showed Oli Gordon a yellow card.

The penalty to touch option proved fruitful again as Heriot’s moved further ahead five minutes before the break. A clean take by Ruaridh Leishman sparked two moves which were foiled by the visitors before Michael Liness gathered and dived over for an unconverted score.

Watsonians ended the half in the ascendancy, but a solid defensive effort featuring vital interventions by Leishman and Charlie Jupp meant Heriot’s went in at half time leading 19-5.

 

 

The visitors came out firing for the second period, with Lewis Berg leading the charge, as he had done just before the interval. Once again, Heriot’s survived and were soon back on the offensive.

A penalty at a scrum provided the platform for a fourth touchdown. Watsonians held out two efforts before Nelson – who had been promoted to the starting line up following an injury to Sam Wallace – picked up and completed the job to make it a double, with King again converting. The hosts were soon back on the hunt, looking to make the am safe and, when they were thwarted illegally, Fin Burgess saw yellow.

Both teams made multiple personnel changes and that appeared to have sparked greater urgency in the away ranks. They were foiled in a first effort to cut the deficit when they were held up, but the score was only delayed until 11 minutes from full-time when the ball was spun wide to Lomond MacPherson and the winger raced in to take his side’s tally into double figures.

However, any notion of a fightback was ended when Matt Davidson carved through the opposition defence and fired a long pass to Lewis Wells, who completed the task. King converted then did so again after Cal Anderson bagged the final Heriot’s score after charging down a clearance kick.

The visitors had the last word when Baggott broke away and fed Berg, who was caught by Wells just short of the line. However, Bobby Bratton was following up and he claimed the try, converted by Baggott, that completed the scoring.

 

Teams –

Heriot’s: D King; S Smith (F Wood 70), M Davidson, A Hunter, L Wells; C Townsend, S Broad (E McAra 60) ; C Keen (J Scott 60), M Liness (L Forsyth 75), E McLaren, R Seydak (P Spence 57), J Campbell (C Anderson 70), C Jupp, W Nelson (J Hill 60), R Leishman©.

Watsonians: D Coetzer (A Lamb 57); L Macpherson, J Mitchell (S Clark 57), L Berg, F Owsley (R Coetzer 65); J Baggott©, F Burgess (M Scott 65); C Davidson (D Voas 50), M Prichard (F Duraj 57), C Lamberton (B Bratton 57), J Berrisford (A McInnes 57), J Parkinson, S Cecil, O Gordon, K Van Niekerk.

Referee: Jonny Perriam

 

Scorers –

Heriot’s: Tries: Nelson 2, Penalty, Liness, Wells, Anderson; Cons: King 4.

Watsonians: Tries: Baggott, MacPherson, Bratton; Con: Baggott.

Scoring sequence (Heriot’s first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 14-5; 19-5 (h-t) 24-5; 26-5; 26-10; 31-10; 33-10; 38-10; 40-10; 40-15; 40-17.

 

Yellows cards – 

Watsonians: Gordon, Burgess

 

Man-of-the-Match: There were numerous contenders on both sides, but the man who earned the nod was Heriot’s skipper Ruaridh Leishman who was abrasive and industrious at the set piece, in defence, and in open play.

Talking point: The end of the competition has sparked discussion over future pathways to higher level rugby. That also applies to coaches. This game featured two of the country’s best prospects and neither yet knows whether there will be a place for them in the new system.


Super Series Final: Ayrshire Bulls defeat Stirling Wolves to bow out on top

About David Barnes 4012 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful in your replies. Abusive language is automatically blocked. Your email address will not be published.


*