Super Series: Watsonians make experience tell to see off Future XV

Watsonians returned to winning ways against the Future XV. Image: Graham Gaw
Watsonians returned to winning ways against the Future XV. Image: Graham Gaw

Watsonians 34

Future XV 21

FINN TAIT @ Myreside

WATSONIANS’ physicality and experience proved too much for a spirited Future XV, who showed their mettle in a physical encounter. While the visitors lost, their coach Scott Forrest said they had vindicated his faith in them. 

“I’m really proud,” he said. “Our big message during the week was being brave with our decision-making and fire some shots. One of the big positives from last week was we had a few great defensive sets and we knew we needed to be better, and I think we did that today. We really frustrated Watsonians.

“The back row was excellent, Calum Smyth is a prop playing at 6, alongside Freddie Douglas and Tom Currie – they really disrupted things. This is a platform to attack the second half of the season and despite the tough first half this group of boys has come together. This is the example this group of players needs to match the physicality against teams like Ireland and France come the Six Nations.”


Super Series: Stirling Wolves battle back to beat Boroughmuir Bears

RWC23: South Africa v Scotland: Gregor Townsend explains World Cup opener selection

Stirling County appoint Keith Russell as Director of Rugby


Watsonians, hurting from their hiding at the hands of Heriot’s in their last outing, looked in imperious shape early on as a superb run from Scott King granted them easy access to the Future 22. Multiple phases of powerful forward play followed before Bobby Bratton punched his way over from close range. Jason Baggott could not convert, but opened his account minutes later with a simple penalty.

Future playmaker Isaac Coates began to orchestrate proceedings, and when he sent a penalty to touch on the Watsonians five-metre line, his pack executed a copybook maul, finished off by Freddie Douglas. Coates converted from the touchline.

Watsonians quickly hit back, and George Pringle exploited a dog leg in the Future defence to feed Connor McAlpine for his team’s second try. But the visitors quickly won possession off kick-off, and a scything run from Ben Salmon ended with him finding Jack Hocking, who was hauled down millimetres short. Coates then spun to Amena Caqusau, who made no mistake. 

Watsonians’ kick-off from that score found touch on the full, and the Future XV sensed that momentum had swung in their favour as half-time approached. Their next score came from another lineout maul, finished off by Corey McCormack this time, and Coates converted with help from the upright to give them a six-point lead at the break. 

Watsonians came back out of the sheds with purpose, immediately forcing a mistake from the Futures that allowed Baggott to kick them within five metres. A training-ground move saw the rampaging Van Niekerk come on to the ball at speed, and the big openside made no mistake to pull his team back to within one point.

The champions’ persistent physicality started to pay dividends, and the pressure eventually told. Replacement Murray Scott darted down the blindside and released former Edinburgh man Freddie Owsley, who chipped ahead for Scott to chase and finish off. Baggott converted and Watsonians were back into the lead after nearly 20 minutes of pressure.

Watsonians made their experience count late in the game, and replacement prop Gregor Scougall powered over to re-establish their two-score lead.

“We are happy to get the result,” Watsonians coach Nikki Walker said. “It was a great performance from the Futures – they put us under some serious pressure and at times we didn’t help ourselves. 

“With the conditions and the possession they had, they tired our front five out, and that meant we couldn’t really impose ourselves as we would’ve liked. Second half we showed a lot more accuracy and kept them at arm’s length.

“We’ve had consecutive defeats in recent weeks and to get things back on track despite the pressure is a good sign for the second half of the season. With a disrupted pre-season we still have steps to get stronger as a squad and push for the play-offs and results beyond that.”

Teams –

Watsonians: D Coetzer; L MacPherson, G Pringle, F Thompson, S King; J Baggott ©, C McAlpine; C Davidson, F Duraj, B Bratton, K Watt, A Scopes, L Ball, J Kerr, K van Niekerk. Subs: C Davies, F Clarke, G Scougall, J Berrisford, S Cecil, M Scott, L Berg, F Owsley.

Future XV: J Hocking; K Johnston, B Salmon, C Ferrie, A Caqusau; I Coates, F Burgess; T Banatvala, C McCormack, C Norrie, C Nolan, R Burkę, C Smyth, F Douglas, T Currie©. Subs: Z Griffiths, R Deans, R Cromar, L Fergusson, A Bogidrau, F Watson, M Urwin, L Townsend.

Referee: Ian Kenny.

Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: Bratton, McAlpine, Van Niekerk, Scott, Scougall. Cons: Baggott 3. Pen: Baggott.

Future XV: Tries: Douglas, Caqusau, McCormack. Cons: Coates 3.

Scoring sequence (Watsonians first): 5-0; 8-0; 8-5; 8-7; 13-7; 15-7; 15-12; 15-14; 15-19; 15-21 (h-t) 20-21 25-21; 27-21; 32-21; 34-21.

Man-of-the-Match:  It is very rare that a losing player takes the award, but Freddie Douglas today was quite frankly exemplary. His work rate and aggression despite a comparatively slight frame was absolutely barnstorming. His talent at the breakdown should be lauded far and wide with the young flanker coming up with near double-digit turnovers on the day. On the home side Bobby Bratton should be commended for a 75-minute shift at the coal face.

Talking point: The Future XV can take a huge amount from this game, having fronted up at all levels against one of the most physical sides in the competition. One of the main criticisms of age-group rugby has been the struggle to develop players who can handle the physicality of top-level rugby, so this  performance appeared to be the first step in the right direction. Whether they can back that up in a fortnight against the Southern Knights is the next question, but today was certainly a statement performance.

 

 

 


Super Series: Stirling Wolves battle back to beat Boroughmuir Bears

About Finn Tait 13 Articles
Finn is a recent graduate from the University of Aberdeen in Politics and International Relations. He has over 10 years of rugby experience playing at School and University 1st XV level, as well as regional involvement.

2 Comments

  1. Futures looked just that against Watsonians – and despite some early season misgivings, it’s a bright looking one. Some brilliant defence, sharp in attack, the boys matched up to a man and given a couple of breaks by the other man in yellow, they could have been in the pink after a great day’s work. All that said, great to hear how disappointed they were with the outcome despite the many positives … wouldn’t want it any other way.

    7
    1
  2. Futures fronted up very well today, and save for the 15 minute period in the second half that the referee refused to blow against Watsonians untill they got their noses in front after wave upon wave of line pressure was withstood and repelled by the youngsters brilliantly all across the park… I’ve got to admit you can see them developing, and now biting into and withstanding tackles better than they started out. Also if you were there you would know just how oppressive the heat was today, little wind and no shade… maybe a coaches note might read don’t warm them up quite so vigorously in 30 degree full sunshine 🤷‍♂️🥵

    6
    3

Comments are closed.