MATT DAVIDSON’s brilliant try-saving tackle on Iain Moody during Sunday’s 1st/2nd place play-off between Ayrshire Bulls and Southern Knights would often have been enough in itself to merit selection at full-back, but opposite number Jacob Henry edges it after a busy and effective afternoon in both defence and attack.
James Couper worked hard to get into the game and to try to make an impact on another miserable afternoon for Heriot’s in their loss to Boroughmuir Bears in 5th/6th place play-off to earn a spot on the right wing. Elias Cavan, whose terrific finish set the Bulls on the way to victory, is selected ahead of the consistently dangerous Tom Roche of Stirling County on the opposite wing.
Archie Russell has been a classy operator in the middle of the park for Stirling County all season and finished slaloming run for his team’s third try was a thing of beauty so he is at outside centre, alongside Edinburgh’s South African academy player Jordan Venter, who was outstanding for Watsonians on Friday night with two tries to his name and several powerful cotrbutions in attack and defence.
Tom Jordan was man-of-the-match as Bulls clinched the title having produced a top-drawer all-round game in terms of decision-making, kicking (from hand and tee), distribution and defence, while Kaleem Barreto – another two-try hero – was once again a huge figure at scrum-half for Boroughmuir Bears in their win over Heriot’s
In the pack, Bulls loose-head George Thornton was part of an impressive scrummaging display for the Bulls, and – perhaps aided by his bleached blond hair – showed up well in the loose, with his 25-yard rampage for the try which took the game beyond the Knights a real high point.
Knights hooker Fraser Renwick battled hard to get his team back on the front foot so edges out opposite number Alex McGuire and Cal Davies of Watsonians, while Martin McGinley of Boroughmuir Bears sneaks in just ahead of Murphy Walker of Stirling County at tight-head.
Tom Everard would almost certainly have been in the second-row after another towering performance for Bulls at the end of a season in which he has been consistently good, but that shocking tackle on Jacob Henry with five minutes to go can’t be overlooked (regardless of whether it was reckless rather than malicious), so Michael Badenhorst of Watsonians and Byron Bowes of Stirling County are selected.
Ben Muncaster had a lot of big moments for Watsonians against Stirling County, so he sneaks in just ahead of the dogged Ryan Sweeney of Ayrshire Bulls at blindside flanker. Conor Gordon scored a great try in another all-action performance for Stirling County at open-side. And while Harry Borthwick started at blindside for the Knights, he played more than half the game at No8 and that’s where he is selected for this team after a typically rugged performance, selected just ahead of Blair MacPherson of Bulls and Craig Keddie of Bears.
15. Jacob Henry (Southern Knights)
14. James Couper (Heriot’s)
13. Archie Russell (Stirling County)
12. Jordan Venter (Watsonians)
11. Elias Cavan (Ayrshire Bulls)
10. Tom Jordan (Ayrshire Bulls)
9. Kaleem Barretto (Boroughmuir Bears)
1. George Thornton (Ayrshire Bulls)
2. Fraser Renwick (Southern Knights)
3. Martin McGinley (Boroughmuir Bears)
4. Byron Bowes (Stirling County)
5. Michael Badenhorst (Watsonians)
6. Ben Muncaster (Watsonians)
7. Connor Gordon (Stirling County)
8. Harry Borthwick (Southern Knights)