Super6: Boroughmuir Bears back to winning ways as Southern Knights salvage bonus point

Dominant first half provides platform for home win

Jack Fisher scores Boroughmuir Bears' opening try. Image: Scottish Rugby
Jack Fisher scores Boroughmuir Bears' opening try. Image: Scottish Rugby

Boroughmuir Bears 40

Southern Knights 28

DAVID BARNES @ Meggetland

IN truth, this contest was over by half-time, but full credit to the Knights for not throwing in the towel and battling back to score four late tries which meant that they at least headed back down the A68 with a bonus point to show for their efforts.

Their late slump ensured Bears head coach Graham Shiel was far from jubilant afterwards, but he also recognised that it is much better to address work-ons after a winning performance, and he was generally pleased with the way the squad bounced back after last week’s loss to Ayrshire Bulls.

“It was really pleasing to go in at half-time with a good lead, and a good performance with our set-piece working well and our attack really challenging them,” he said. “They were always going to have periods of the game and making changes is a challenge for us in terms of the squad situation we have and the depths we are having to go to. So, we lost our shape and our discipline later in the game, and to concede so many points is disappointing but we can’t be overly disheartened with three wins out of four.”

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Opposite number Bruce Ruthven was also sanguine. “In that last 20 minutes we played some really good rugby,” he pointed out. “The shape was good, we got chances and we took them. We talked about being accurate all week, unfortunately if you are only accurate for 20 out of the 80 minutes we are going to get beat no matter who we are playing.

“We did give ourselves opportunities in that first 20 minutes when we had some good territory and possession, but we couldn’t convert, and then unforced errors and missed tackles killed us,” he added. “But we can’t focus on the negatives, it doesn’t do you any good. The guys will take a lot of heart from how they finished and they know they can score well and score good tries, but ultimately we are didsasppointeid that we let the game get away from us in that first half.

Knights started the brighter of the two teams and winger Ollie Melville thought he had opened the scoring on three minutes when he stepped inside his marker and scampered home, but the long miss-pass from Cammy Scott which had given him that sniff of the line had strayed marginally forward.

Having survived that early scare, Bears cleared the danger and then took command of the scoreboard when second-row Jack Fisher powered over, several phases after a break from full-back Tom Brown had initiated the first home foray into enemy territory.

Jack Bergin slotted the conversion but Bears then found themselves fortifying that seven-point lead with just 14 men for the next 10 minutes when prop Callum Smith was sent to the sin-bin for a shoulder-led high-tackle.

There was a lengthy delay while Bears centre Tom Lanni was treated on the pitch with a nasty looking knee injury, but the home pack didn’t let that distract them, powering their way to a scrum penalty when the game eventually restarted, opting to pack down again, and this time providing the rock solid platform for the ball to be sent across the park. It did get a bit scruffy for a while under the shadow of the posts, before Bears eventually stretched their lead to 14 unanswered points when Callum Ramm scooped up a loose ball and weaved his way to the scoring zone.

Back to 15 men, Bears were now well in control, and they claimed try number three with just over half an hour played when replacement centre Scott Robeson found himself at the front of a queue of blue and green jerseys all waiting for the scoring pass.

For the Knights, the bad luck kept coming. They’ve had a wretched run with injury already in this Super6 campaign, and when Ben Pickles picked up a concussion and had to be replaced by debuting Kiwi Korie Winters it meant that they had lost both their starting centres in this match before half-time (Robbie Chalmers had already gone off with a leg injury).


The bonus point was in the bag for the Bears after just six minutes of the second half when a long passage of play culminated in Ronan Kerr slipping the ball out of contact to send Joe Jenkins over, although Jack Bergin pushed his conversion to the right of the posts this time.

Try number five was a textbook demonstration of clinical efficiency, with Bergin angling a penalty on halfway right into the corner, Bears collecting cleanly at the tail, and Corey Tait applying the downward pressure after a tightly bound maul was marched over the line.

But the Bears then switched off, coughing up a couple of soft penalties then failing to defend the edges as the Knights hustled toward the try-line from a close-range line-out, and it was Alan Ferrie who took advantage to initiate the visiting side’s late rally.

Knights scored again just a few minutes later when a Bears breakout featuring neat hands from second-row Callum Atkinson and a burst off pace from Robeson was derailed by a wild offload, with visiting scrum-has Douglas Crawford taking advantage this time by running it in from close to 40-yards.

Back to the tried and tested, Bears got their side of the scoreboard rolling again when replacement hooker Jerry Blyth-Lafferty finished off another powerful line-out maul, only for Knights to respond in kind through Fraser Renwick with five minutes left on the ticker.

That opened up the prospect of a four-try bonus-point for the visitors, and Finn Douglas had the pace to get the job done with a wonderful weaving run from halfway after a well-timed pass from David Colvine gave him the glimpse of space he needed on the edge.


Teams –

Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown; C Ramm, R Kerr, T Lanni (S Robeson 22, A Scott 54), J Jenkins; J Bergin (C Anderson 71), R Swan; C Smith (B Sweet 60), C Tait (J Blyth Lafferty 60), M Goodwin (M McGinley 55), J Fisher, C Atkinson, J King (L Alessandri 71), I Carmichael (B Sweet 22-24), C Keddie (L Habib 53).

Southern Knights: D Colvine (F Douglas 54); K Clark, B Pickles ( K Winters 34), R Chalmers (K McGhie 22), O Melville (Colvine  68); C Scott, D Crawford; C Bowker (G Shiells 40), R Anderson (F Renwick 40), E Harrison (, J Campbell, A Ferrie, J Miller (E Demirel 54), W Nelson, S Derrick.

Referee: Finlay Brown.


Scorers –

Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Fisher, Ramm, Robeson, Jenkins, Tait, Blyth-Lafferty; Con: Bergin 5.

Southern Knights: Try: Ferrie, Crawford, Renwick, Douglas; Con: Scott 4.

Scoring sequence (Boroughmuir Bears first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 19-0; 21-0 (h-t) 26-0; 31-0; 33-0; 33-5; 33-7; 33-12; 33-14; 38-14; 40-14; 40-19; 40-21; 40-26; 40-28.


Yellow cards –

Boroughmuir Bears: Smith (11mins)


Player-of-the-Match: Dominance up front was key to this Bears win, and there was some excellent performance in the tight-five, notably second-rows Callum Atkinson and Jack Fisher, but Josh King‘s physicality and work-rate for the full 80 minutes meant he edged it.

Talking point: Near perfect conditions, Meggetland was looking glorious, and the action on the park lived up to the setting – but where, oh where are the Scotland under-20s squad members? ‘Managing their load’ is one thing, but these are young guys who need rugby. Their summer series campaign was back at the start of July and the Six Nations doesn’t kick-off until early February. They must be bored to distraction, while at least half the Super6 coaches are scrambling around each week trying to find enough players to make-up a match-day squad. If Super6 is going to develop as a competition and as a spectacle which will attract new supporters then it needs to have the best young players in the country involved on a far more regular basis.

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About David Barnes 3268 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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.


  1. On today’s ‘Talking Point’ I totally agree. It seems that Academy Stage 3 players who are still eligible for Under 20’s next season, are doing a ‘pre-season’ block just now, and will be allowed back into Super 6 at Week 6 (i.e. the 2nd half of the tournament).
    Their ‘season’ then consists of 6 games of Super 6, Under 20 training block including development fixtures against various teams in Nov/Dec, 6 nations, Super 6 sprint, Under 20 World Trophy. Looks like it is all aimed to peak for World Trophy next Summer, but as you say young guys need games, and it seems strange to focus on a tournament 10 months away, when at that point any of them could be injured.

    • So how many games is that more than 25 or less than 25 and over how long from first to last games , and how many training camps ..if people complaining about how they fair in the world chams should that not be the comp they focus on ?

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