Southern Knights 15
Boroughmuir Bears 24
ALAN LORIMER @ The Greenyards
BOROUGHMUIR BEARS secured their second successive win in the FOSROC Super6 Championship with a bonus-point victory over a Southern Knights side that displayed character in posting a promising performance after a damaging opening match against Watsonians last weekend.
Fortunately for the Knights there was not a repeat of the carnage that ensued last Saturday when six of their team limped off injured, and over the piece the home side must have gained some satisfaction from the way they were able to challenge Boroughmuir Bears after a torrid opening half-hour.
Boroughmuir looked efficient for major parts of the game and always looked liked winners, albeit the Knights were able to mount a late charge to narrow the scoreline gap.
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“We’ll take it. It wasn’t a pretty win,” declared Alex Toolis, the Bears forwards coach, who thought that there were a number of positives from his side’s performance: “The positives were that when we had slumps in our play we were able to fix it and come back. I thought, too, our defence in the first half was good. We were getting good double hits. I thought also that Jack Bergin was outstanding. His kicking and control of the game was very positive”.
For Southern Knights, this season’a championship will be all about catching up after a difficult start to the season. But there was little doubt that the Greenyards side will go to Bridgehaugh next weekend in better spirit after a display that suggested they have strength in at least one area.
“I thought the driving maul went well for us. And some of our defensive shifts were very good,” suggested the Knights’ skipper Fraser Renwick, who acknowledged that it was not easy going into the match against the Bears after the events of last weekend.
He said: “The injuries we picked up last weekend made training difficult this week. But that’s not an excuse, however. It was hard, though, for the boys stepping in.”
Boroughmuir’s wide game suggested a plethora of tries might result but instead quarter of an hour had passed before any points were on the board. The opening try when it came was the result of constant pressure from the Bears that forced Southern Knights into the trenches, and into the role of defenders.
Bears made their breakthrough after turning the screw with two successive line-out drives, the second pulling in the Knights’ defenders in tight, before the ball was moved wide. Tom Brown did the initial damage with an arcing run to the line, and the move was finished off by a close-range surge from Corey Tait. Stand-off Bergin converted.
But after almost non-stop defending, the Knights secured a foothold in their opponents’ 22m area following an attempt by Bears to run the ball from near their goal line. And they made the best of their new leasehold with a driven line-out that produced a try for Renwick.
Bears, however, quickly hit back with powerful forward drives near the Knights’ line before a quick release of the ball to the pacemen allowed Brown to lay on a perfect pass for Callum Ramm to romp over in the corner for his side’s second try.
Before the first half concluded, Bears were able to score a third try, this time from a lineout drive that ended with flanker Josh King plunging over, Bergin’s second successful conversion kick giving the visitors a 19-5 interval advantage.
Knights started the second half looking like a side invigorated and used their newfound zest to produce a further try from their now effective weapon, the driving maul, Renwick again the scorer.
Not to be outdone, Bears showed their mauling skills, setting up a siege on the Knights line which achieved no immediate result but which did spectacularly when the ball was released from the frontal wrestling match to Bergin, whose long pass put Joe Jenkins speeding in for the bonus-point try.
Knights might have capitulated at this point, but instead, after making changes, attacked their opponents, and were finally rewarded with the try of the match by Cameron Scott created by a scintillating break from Struan Hutchison, which, if not turning round the game, at least gave the Knights a late shot of confidence as they contemplate their trip to Stirling.
Southern Knights: D Colvine; A Cross, P Anderson, C Scott, B Wara; S Hutchison, D Crawford; G Shiells, F Renwick©, I Brace, J Campbell, A Ferrie, S Derrick, W Nelson, H Borthwick. Substitutes: R Anderson, C Bowker, A Rogers, J Miller, C Anderson, O Melville, B Pickles, K McGhie.
Boroughmuir Bears: T Brown; C Ramm, R Kerr, T Lanni, J Jenkins; J Bergin, R Swan; C Smith, C Tait, M Goodwin, J Fisher, C Atkinson, J King, T Andrews, C Keddie©. Substitutes: J Blyth Lafferty, B Sweet, M McGinley, I Carmichael, P Bogie, M Johnstone, C Anderson, A Scott.
Referee: R Campbell
Southern Knights: Tries Renwick 2, Scott.
Boroughmuir Bears: Tries: Tait, Ramm, King, Jenkins. Cons: Bergin 2.
Scoring sequence (Knights first): 0-5, 0-7, 5-7, 5-12, 5-17, 5-19 (ht) 10-19, 10-24, 15-24.
Man-0f-the-Match: Bears stand-off Jack Bergin looked a classy player throughout with his overall control and neat footwork. Certainly the Aucklander gave the Bears backline a poise that suggests they have the weaponry to produce a fast game.
Talking point: Early days in the Championship, but Boroughmuir Bears are beginning to look like a side that can play decent rugby, being able to attack through both forwards and backs and complementing this side of their game with good defence. For Knights the 4-3 try score represented a bounce back from last week and perhaps hope that they can recover from a difficult start.
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Small crowd from what the photo shows, were they all at Hawick sevens ?
Significant comment about the MoM being an Aucklander. Jack Bergin appears to be a “have boots will travel” rugby mercenary – England-qualified having played previously for Ampthill. No doubt just the man for S6! Oh, wait a minute……
Need to be much more transparency over the the make up of the Super 6 squads, still far too many journeymen players etc involved in this , again coaches signing squads to win a tournament as opposed to developing Scottish eligible talent.
There should be quotas for each team ? a maximum number of non Scottish qualified signings and teams should have to sign a minimum of say 20 under 25 age players ( within squad of 35) so the main focus is definitely on development. Always beneficial to have a smattering of “old heads “ within these squads for younger players to learn from but the emphasis should definitely be on the development of players.
I think having quota consistency like this between the Super 6 squads will make for a more equitable and transparent process.
As it stands just now we don’t really understand the structure of each squad as Ron Sutherland has highlighted already with a young journeyman Kiwi taking MOTM last night…
Are each franchise restricted to a set budget or can they increase this figure from additional sponsorship etc, again this could create an uneven playing field for squad quality if this is the case.
I am aware they get set funding from SRU but would be interested to know if the franchises themselves supplement this to create better quality squads and if so , should this be permitted ?
there is a quota on nSQ.
Not on ages profiles and here I agree with you.
If any SQ are allowed then there is no reason they can’t or shouldn’t be MoM, if felt to be the best player on the day
As it happens I didn’t think Bergin was that good.
I believe there is a quota, and that is 4 NSQ players per 32 man squad, which i think is very reasonable. As for your target of 20 U25 per 32 man squad most are compliant with that:
Bears – 23
Bulls – 20
Wolves – 20
Watsonians – 18
Heriots – 15
The knights havent released an official 32 man squad list, but i suspect given who has played so far, they will be over the 20 U25 threshold. However, Heriots an Watsonians, could certainly improve their contribution.
The official MotM was Trystan Andrews, but guess that doesn’t really fit your narrative.
It seems fairly obvious that Ron was talking about the MoM named in the article he was commenting on. Didn’t you see that?
I read the article and i did see that Berghin was MotM. Ron was using that MotM to try and show how the S6 is filled with non scots journeymen. I was merely trying to point out that the official MotM was a young scottish player, something people who didnt watch the game might not have known. Out of the 46 players who played in this game, there were 4 non scots…
So why were you wittering on about Trystan Andrews being the official MoM?
You seem to be the one with the narrative.