Super Series: Watsonians keep focus to get job done versus Future XV

Professional performance and positive result tees Myreside men up for next weekend's play-off semi-final against Ayrshire Bulls

Watsonians defeated the Future XV at Myreside. Image: Graham Gaw
Watsonians defeated the Future XV at Myreside. Image: Graham Gaw

Watsonians 21

Future XV 0

GARY HEATLY @ Myreside

WATSONIANS will head into the Super Series Championship play-offs off the back of a solid if unspectacular win over the Future XV at Myreside. The youngsters huffed and puffed and had plenty of possession, but ultimately lost out and are still winless after 11 games together at this level. This was not a vintage encounter by any means, but both sides defended pretty well over the piece which meant that there were just three tries scored and they were all by forwards.

After this 21-0 victory, Watsonians finish the regular season with nine wins and three defeats in third spot and will now fine tune things ahead of their semi-final away to second placed Ayrshire Bulls next Saturday. They hope to have captain Neil Irvine-Hess back from injury for that one.

“I am actually really pleased,” insisted Watsonians head coach Nikki Walker. “It would have been easy for us, with the game not really meaning much in terms of league standings, to turn up and not really put a performance in, but to win 21-0 and stop the Future XV – who have attacked really well of late – from scoring was a big positive.


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“To ‘nil’ any team is good and in this game it showed that the boys’ attitude was spot on and we will take some momentum into the semi-final from that. A few guys were playing in different positions and a few guys put their hands up, so it’ll make selection for next week interesting. All the focus is on the semi-final and we are looking forward to it.”

In the opening minutes, Watsonians had most of the possession, but the Future XV defence stood firm. The youngsters then got themselves going in attack and when home winger George Pringle stuck out an arm to stop a pass 30 metres out from his own line he was yellow carded, but from the resultant penalty kick to touch the Futures lost their own line-out.

Just before Watsonians were back to 15, the Future XV worked the ball through a number of phases in the home half with captain Tom Currie, stand-off Matthew Urwin and full-back Fergus Watson carrying well. However, the defence could not be breached and as the first quarter of the match came and went it was still 0-0.

With both sets of backs struggling to breakthrough, Watsonians’ used the line-out drive to good affect to score the game’s first points in the 25th minute. It was their hooker Patrick Harrison, the Edinburgh Rugby man, who eventually touched down and when stand-off Dom Coetzer converted it was 7-0.

Soon after, a neat delayed pass by Urwin put Future XV centre Ben Salmon shooting into space and while it came to nothing in the end, the visiting side were showing some encouraging signs in attack if they could just add composure into the mix.

They then went through numerous phases in the home 22, but just could not find the half gap needed or the final pass and eventually the ball was lost forward with 34 minutes gone.

Before half-time, Watsonians’ winger Freddie Owsley found some space and kicked ahead while, for the Future XV, Urwin’s clearance kick bounced up nicely for his number 14 Finn Douglas to run onto, but neither chance resulted in points.

Just before half-time, the Future XV had a chance off the back of a line-out before hooker Jerry Blyth-Lafferty knocked on under pressure and then, a couple of moments later, back-row Craig Nolan just ran out of space on the stand-side touchline.

 

The Future XV were down at half-time, but had had plenty of possession to give them hope for the second period, but they were were dealt a blow when No 8 Currie was forced off with an arm injury to be replaced by Ollie Duncan. And in the 46th minute, Watsonians doubled their advantage when Harrison dived over from short range for a try and Coetzer converted.

A strong break from recent replacement Duncan showed that the Future XV were still in this one and, just before the hour mark, replacement back Jack Hocking made good yardage. However, the final pass went astray and that was becoming the story of the Future XV’s day – the accuracy needed was not there and a lot of their attacks were quite hesitant.

With eight minutes to go, Watsonians made sure of the win with a third try. After Pringle had gone close, sub scrum-half Murray Scott quickly fed back-row Karl Main who went over from short range. Coetzer converted and it was 21-0.

That was how it ended and, as the search for a win goes on, Future XV co-coach Scott Forrest said:  “I am frustrated, the feeling in the huddle at the end was quite flat in a way because it was one of our poorer performances.

“We had enough chances out there and in terms of territory we played in the right areas which you could say was a positive, but we looked blunt which was disappointing because in previous weeks we have looked much more threatening.

“We weren’t accurate enough in contact and we could not get our phase play going as we’d have liked.

“There is one game left against Boroughmuir Bears [a rearranged fixture next Friday] and we have said to the boys let’s go out and give it everything because we don’t want to feel like this again after that one.”

 

Teams –

Watsonians: M Reid; G Pringle, L Berg (J Baggott 66), S King, F Owsley; D Coetzer, M McAndrew (M Scott 56); C Davidson (C Murphy 65), P Harrison (F Duraj 65), B Bratton (G Scougall 56), K Watt (A Scopes 56), J Berrisford, S Cecil©, K Main, B Muncaster (L Ball 41).

Future XV: F Watson; Finn Douglas (J Ventisei 43), B Salmon, K Yule (C Ferrie 52), A Caqusau (J Hocking 52); M Urwin, F Burgess; T Banatvala (R Deans 10), J Blyth-Lafferty, O Blyth-Lafferty (C Norrie 47), R Burke (M Brogan 63), R Hart, C Nolan, Freddy Douglas, T Currie© (O Duncan 43).

Referee: Jonny Perriam

 

Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: Harrison 2, Main. Cons: Coetzer 3.

Future XV: No scorers.

Scoring sequence (Watsonians first): 5-0; 7-0 (h-t) 12-0; 14-0, 19-0; 21-0.

 

Yellow card –

Watsonians: Pringle (7 mins)

 

Player-of-the-Match: For the Future XV, stand-off Matthew Urwin looked good at times while back-row Craig Nolan carried hard. For Watsonians, back-row Karl Main was strong on both sides of the ball, but for his two tries home hooker Patrick Harrison takes the award.

Talking point: Nikki Walker was happy with this win, but Watsonians know they will have to step things up a number of notches when they take on Ayrshire Bulls next weekend in the play-off semi-finals. They have already beaten the Millbrae men twice this season and it should be a good contest.


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About Gary Heatly 463 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.

13 Comments

  1. The other area which is being completely overlooked it seems is university rugby. Edinburgh and Strathclyde are playing at a level where many of their opponents have premiership academy boys playing and the standard is very high. The boys there seem to get overlooked a bit despite playing regular high level rugby.

    The other universities also have very good players playing regularly which should be a great resource

  2. What l saw was a group of lads who admittedly have improved as a team but are a playing at a level that puts them completely out of their depth. Lots of effort and improved physicality but there was an absence of skill or a bit of individual magic that could break a very strong defence by a makeshift Watsonians team. I assume that’s down to the coaching rather than a lack of talent.
    The front row offered little, the lineouts were shocking to be honest and as usual the props exhibited a discernible lack of anything that would suggest that they’re anything better than average, but I’m fed up banging on about that.
    One game left, time to look forward. I’ve actually changed my opinion of the Future’s project and think that it has some merit and may be worth continuing with however there needs to be a major change in how the squad is selected and coached. Given the bottleneck created by having only two professional clubs shouldn’t the Futures be a shop window for our best young talent to be on show for teams outside Scotland where there are more opportunities for professional development so the boys can grow and learn then be brought back in to the domestic/international set up. The Futures should the senior academy of Scottish rugby selected by premiership/league coaches and independent the SRU influence. The next U20s six nations will probably underline that the current set up didn’t really work. Ive always thought this was a relatively simple fix given that we do have lots of talent out there and it is being developed by clubs. 18/19 yr olds are playing good levels of rugby, so for me the main issue (apart from the coaching) with the past squads is in the physical conditioning of the boys compared to the Irish or French. They simply need better nutrition and lots more gym time. That is solely the remit of the boys themselves their parents Schools and clubs after that valuable game will set them up well.

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    • Words fail me Jim on ur comment
      But
      I’m guessing one of ur boys or friends boy missed out being in the Futures.

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      • Not quite Nessie. I do know a few boys who are more than capable and have been left out l also know other coaches snd teachers who have boys overlooked and feel the same as l do. It would seem the majority of contributors to this forum seem to agree that there is nothing wrong to changing a losing side. l totally disagree with sticking with boys who have not won anything and not giving others an opportunity. It’s not as if the selected boys haven’t been given a good chance, if you include the U20’s this fiasco has been going on for nearly 30 games with only 3 wins. To say that what has been going on over the past two years was worth while is both selfish and myopic. While you and the other parents are rightly proud of your sons. The wider rugby community are thinking WTF is happening to our game and how do we motivate boys that turn up to training week after week as long as any kind of progression or reward for their efforts are closed shop

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    • I’d really be curious to see how the lads that have been developed in the SRU bubble that is the Futures, would get on against a select of lads of the same age that have been playing regularly in the Prem/Nat 1 (and even further down) for the last couple of seasons. I think it would be very close. In fact, that would be a good run out for the Futures!

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      • That would be good shout

        Definitely some amazing players out there that aren’t in the Futures, but it’s a shame so many want to see the futures fail.

        Remember some boys just want to play rugby for fun and not pursue it as a full time career and maybe that’s why they aren’t in the Futures along with a few other reasons too.

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    • @Jim, There seems to be an incredible reluctance to change a losing team/squad. I’m sure it’s driven by a fear of admitting that the wrong call may have been made on certain players in the past. I.e. those that have been in place for years are almost untouchable.

      There are many examples, I can think of a few off the top of my head at Glasgow Hawks alone. One that has puzzled me is the omission of Hawks’ winger Ross Darroch from any squads. Kenny Murray was in attendance last season to see him, as an 18 year old, being awarded Man of the Match after a Prem game. Finished top try scorer for Hawks, and is one of the quickest players in the league, but wasn’t even called in to have a look at him in training. He is now using his dual nationality to join another international set-up.

      Euan Brannon & Youssef Shaheen are another two at Hawks that should be in the reckoning.

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      • As a relative outsider I can’t understand how a Glasgow centre club isn’t in super six… is there a specific reason… did they miss. A cut off date or something 🤷‍♂️

  3. I would certainly question the way Futures introduction was planned, with U20s away at the start and then pro sides needing players during the world cup. I have been surprised that a few experienced players have not supplemented the Futures.

    However, I can’t agree this has been a pointless experiment. Recent performances and results have been much better. That means the players have continued to learn in adversity. Credit to the players, who have stuck in against more experienced and physically mature opponents.

    We will have to see how they perform in the 6 Nations.Something had to be tried.I suspect players and coaches will have benefitted, even though the concept could have been introduced more thoughtfully.

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    • To be fair, the boys will no doubt have progressed, at aged 18/19 it’s going to happen if you’re playing and getting half decent coaching. So yes, not entirely pointless. I’ve no doubt though that they would have developed quicker/further if they’d had experienced heads playing beside them. Also, losing every game really does become a habit – to me they’ve been conditioned to lose. It will be a fantastic achievement if they manage to win a couple of games in the U20 6 Nations, as they’re preparation has been to say the least suspect. If they finish bottom, then it’s surely back to the drawing board, with coaches/administrators (and players) that have had multiple chances being shown the door.

    • I think I’m right, but apologies if I’m wrong! Have the improved performances and results not been partly (significantly) due to opponents fielding under strength sides against the Futures? I’d imagine that the best of the u20 6 Nations sides will be a step up from any full-strength side in Super Series, so it’s going to be interesting…

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  4. Another pointless defeat for the Futures – literally this time. Is there any coach/head of performance in the world that thinks 11 defeats in a row (as was always going to happen) is anything other than disastrous preparation for representing your country in key competitions? Surely their confidence must be shot? You can’t lose 11 in a row and still feel good about your game.

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    • Apparently we aren’t allowed to be negative….this has supposedly been really good for them….though the Kool Aid chuggers won’t commit to claiming it will improve results in the u20 6n. They forget that the whole point of this vastly expensive farce of a league was to give young players game time….and the only way that has happened is by putting them all in one team that doesn’t play home games doesn’t properly train together has no consistency of selection and can’t fulfil its actual fixtures fully. Not to worry tho cos the occasional Scottish player will get 3 or 4 min off the bench while Glasgow n Embra spend millions on foreign imports to win absolutely zilch so the future of our sport is totally fine and there is no crisis at all….

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