Super Series Sprint: Stirling Wolves tame Boroughmuir Bears with second half surge

Three unanswered tries after the break secure bonus point win for hosts

Stirling Wolves defeated Boroughmuir Bears at Bridgehaugh. Image: Bryan Robertson
Stirling Wolves defeated Boroughmuir Bears at Bridgehaugh. Image: Bryan Robertson

Stirling Wolves 31

Boroughmuir Bears 15

LEWIS STUART @ Bridgehaugh

A PERFECT start to the Super6 Sprint for Stirling Wolves as they not only got that vital win in the opening fixture but picked up a scoring bonus point as they ran away with the second half after see-saw first 40.

For Eddie Pollock, the Stirling coach, it was a satisfying showing, particularly once the team settled and took control of the game.

“Boroughmuir are a really good team and in the 20 minutes just before half time they put us under a lot of pressure, it was hard for us to play because it was so competitive,” he said.


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“I did feel we maybe should have scored more in the opening half, when we had more control, but we lacked a bit of composure in the red zone. The message at half time was that we just had to stay calm, so to win the second half 21-0 was a solid performance.”

What really pleased him, though, was the ambition a lot of his players displayed with player-of-the-match Ryan Southern, the centre, only one of the many who showed a willingness to take players on and offload in traffic.

“The whole point is trying to improve the players and that’s what’s happening. You’ve got to have ambition to play, which we have, and things will get better from here.”

The problem for Boroughmuir is that in the spring series, an opening defeat, even if it is away from home, could be hard to recover from and Graham Sheil, the coach, understands that the players need to learn how to control the game better if they are to have a hope.

“They have to learn to play in the right areas of the pitch – when we have the ball, how to we move further up the pitch because you are not going to score from 60-70 metres out,” he admitted.

“We need to learn work out ways to get into their half and stay there, which we didn’t do in this game. It was frustrating because we found ways to score in the first half but didn’t after the break.”

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With both sides having recruited since the last time they played and showing the rust of a lengthy lay-off, the start of this game was always going to be a bit disjointed, but both sets of coaches will have had things to cheer them as well as things to horrify them as sublime handling and cack-handed mistakes levelled each other out.

The Wolves struck first, conjuring up a strong midfield move with Craig Jardine‘s offload giving Southern the space to wriggle past the remaining defence and open the scorning and fly half Marcus Holden adding the conversion.

But no sooner had they shown their Jekyll, than they also produced their Hyde, letting the ball squirt loose from a ruck on their own line to hand Ruaridh Swan, the Boroughmuir scrum half, a gift of a score.

The home side continued showing a lot of classy touches with the ball but also made a lot of mistakes to allow the visitors to take control of large chunks of the game. A strong attack did hand Holden the chance to extend the lead with a penalty, but the Bears were soon back up the other end of the field and threatening to go ahead.

Strong home defence made it hard for the but when the visitors won a scrum on their opponents’ line and pummelled away at it with strong carries from Scott McGinley, the flanker, Jack Fisher, the lock and Trystan Andrews, the No8. Something had to give, and almost inevitably, the hard work up front created room behind for Adam Scott to find a hole to reach the line and stretch out to score.

Crucially, Tom Quinlan, the fly-half, missed both conversions so the scores were level heading up to half time, before Boroughmuir produced the play of the half to go in ahead. It was Swan who produced the magic with a chip kick back over his head to wrongfoot the defence and make it easy for Joseph Jenkins, the wing, to catch and score.

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It didn’t take long for Stirling to regain the advantage, starting the second half with a handling move that deserves all the viral social media replays it will probably get.

It started with prop George Breese scything through the midfield on a 30 metre run before Southern took the move on and fed flanker Ruaridh Knott for the try. With Holden adding the conversion, they had their noses in front.

The third try was a lot more prosaic. Penalty, line-out, maul and Gregor Hiddleston, the hooker, was in the position to so what modern hookers do and touch down at the back of the drive.

The Bears went to their bench early to try to regain the momentum but if anything they only got more disjointed while the new players settled. They struggled to get out of their own half and in the final seconds conceded the bonus point try to the Wolves with Smith, the wing, finishing after the forwards had sucked in the defence and a long floated pass from replacement Craig Jackson had given him a run-in to the line.

 

Teams –

Stirling Wolves: G Bryce; F Callaghan (G Smith, 75), R Southern, C Jardine (C Jackson, 60), K Winters; M Holden, K McGhie (E Davey, ); G Breese , G Hiddleson (R Kennedy, 72) , M Tamosaitis (L Quarm, 72), H Ferguson, J Pow (R Hart, 65), R Knott (S MacDonald, 75), R Gordon, B Grant.

Boroughmuir Bears: A Scott; C Ramm, A Thom (K Johnston, 51), S Robeson, J Jenkins (M Cullen, 53); T Quinlan, R Swan (B Young, 63); B. Sweet (I Carmichael, 47), C Tait (A Allen, 60), M McGinley (M Goodwin, 60), J King, J Fisher, C Keddie, S McGinley, T Andrews (K Westlake, 60).

Referee: F Brown

 

Scorers –

Stirling Wolves: Tries: Southern, Knott, Hiddleston, Smith; Cons: Holden 4; Pen: Holden.

Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Swan, Scott, Jenkins.

Scoring sequence (Stirling Wolves first): 5-0; 7-0; 7-5; 10-5; 10-10; 10-15 (h-t) 15-15; 17-15; 22-15; 24-15; 29-15; 31-15.

 

Player-of-the-Match: Once they got going, the Stirling pack laid the platform and all the backs had their moments, but Ryan Southern was consistently excellent across the 80 and wins the award.

Talking Point: If Boroughmuir are going to start winning in this competition, they are going to have to work out how to control the game better. Stirling gave them a lesson in playing in the right areas that they could benefit from learning.


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About Lewis Stuart 77 Articles
Lewis has been writing about rugby for almost 40 years, the last 18 as a freelance based in Scotland bringing his wealth fo experience to just about every publication in the country. These days you can hear him as well by tuning in to his Wednesday night show on Rocksport Radio.