THE SUPER SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP reached the half way point with a series of much more closely contested games this weekend than we’ve seen in recent weeks. Indeed, only a last minute try from Heriot’s prevented the three games all being won by teams which were behind at half-time, so it was fitting that Dan King’s score also sent Heriot’s top of the league at the half way mark.
Euan Muirhead continued to show his fast developing game this Series, with a couple of scything runs for the Bears, including one where he stood up his opposite number, the experienced Glenn Bryce, before scoring himself, so he takes the full-back shirt.
On the wings, George Barber of Heriot’s and Aidan Cross both scored excellent if contrasting tries at Goldenacre, with Barber winning the nomination on account of his all-round work rate. On the opposite touchline, Amena Caqusau scored again for the Future XV as did Lewis Wells of Heriot’s, but Ross McKnight wins the nomination on account of one bullocking run which set up a try for the supporting Kyle McGhie, and a final minute finish of his own, which showed the increased work-rate he is beginning to add to his bulking presence.
In the centres, there have been some terrifically consistent players this season, including Ryan Southern and Matt Davidson, who both scored tries this week, but on this George Pringle gets the nod as one of those who stepped up in the second half for Watsonians to win the game for them, and he is partnered by that fine ball-player Grant Hughes of Heriot’s who was involved in everything creative Heriot’s did in their game. Callum Ferrie is worth a mention, because having not been included in the initial Future XV squad, he has started every game for them at 12, and has shown robustness and consistency rare in such a young player.
Unusually, it was not a week for stand-offs dominating games or scoring, and our nomination goes to another young player who has started every game, Isaac Coates whose high level skill set and vision is beginning to be complemented by fewer mistakes. Chris Bell scored a fine interception try for the Knights, and Conor McAlpine switched from the Future XV last week to play against them this week for his nominated club Watsonians with effortless ease, but the TOW place goes to the peerless Kaleem Baretto, who brought his international 7s repertoire into a 15s game to great effect. Hopefully he reminded Scotland selectors that when the Olympics are over next year, this man has a significant future beyond the abbreviated game.
It’s hard to separate Gregor Hiddleston from Corbin Thunder for the hooker berth, but the Stirling Wolves man edges it on the basis that his contributions led to a victory for his side. Returning after injury, George Breese made his first start of the season in the Wolves front-row and put in good shift in tight and loose, while Bobby Bratton similarly impressed for Watsonians and won the official man of the match.
Injuries have forced the Knights to play natural back-row men in the second-row every week this series, and on Saturday two of them, Allan Ferrie and Sam Derrick, had influential and mobile games for them, with the latter edging selection for us with his two tries, His opposite number Ronan Seydak continued his impressive sequence of games with a performance both powerful and deft at times.
The Future XV back-row all received name checks from their coach Scott Forrest for their contributions, and one of them Freddy Douglas wins the open-side slot in our team. Garry Young has been mentioned in dispatches a few times by his coach Alan Tait, and his barnstorming performance on Saturday looked like he, himself, is beginning to believe he is as good as his mentor says he is. The back-row is completed by the versatile Kwagga van Niekerk who has started at five, six, eight and 20 for Watsonians this season and on Saturday proved himself again an effective mauler, ball carrier and tackler whatever jersey he is wearing.
15. Euan Muirhead (Boroughmuir Bears)
14. George Barber (Heriot’s)
13. George Pringle (Watsonians)
12. Grant Hughes (Heriot’s)
11. Ross McKnight (Stirling Wolves)
10. Isaac Coates (Future XV)
9. Kaleem Barreto (Boroughmuir Bears)
1. George Breese (Stirling Wolves)
2. Gregor Hiddleston (Stirling Wolves)
3. Bobby Bratton (Watsonians)
4. Sam Derrick (Southern Knights)
5. Ronan Seydak (Heriot’s)
6. Kwagga van Niekerk (Watsonians)
7. Freddy Douglas (Future XV)
8. Garry Young (Southern Knights)