Super6 mid-term reports: the coaches assess their teams

With four rounds of the regular season to go, there is everything still to play for in the new league

Lee Millar of Watsonians, Craig Jackson of Southern Knights, Lars Morrice of Ayrshire Bulls, Reyner Kennedy of Stirling County, Chris Laidlaw of Boroughmuir Bears and Iain Wilson of Heriot's at the official launch of Super6 last November. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Lee Millar of Watsonians, Craig Jackson of Southern Knights, Lars Morrice of Ayrshire Bulls, Reyner Kennedy of Stirling County, Chris Laidlaw of Boroughmuir Bears and Iain Wilson of Heriot's at the official launch of Super6 last November. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE inaugural Super6 domestic season enters the home straight this week, with a full round of fixtures scheduled as part of a four match run over six weeks which will take us up to the end of the regular campaign. The Offside Line caught up with all six head coaches to find out how they feel things have gone so far, and hear their aspirations for the next month and a half (and beyond).

Peter Murchie of Ayrshire Bulls:

1. Rate your season so far?

“I think we are in a good position to kick on, we have achieved some momentum with winning five in a row and we are beginning to develop some belief in each other. Within that, we have also had to overcome some set-backs and shown character in games, all of which is really important in the evolution of a team.”

2. Highlight of the season so far?

“Probably the away win at Stirling. Not many people who watched the game would put the word highlight anywhere near it … But it was a really important win for us. The weather conditions were so bad that normal game strategies went out the window, it was a roll-the-sleeves-up test of character. It was also really pleasing that a number of our younger players, particularly in decision-making positions, had really mature games in that they managed the conditions smartly.”

3. Biggest disappointment?

“Obviously the first game of the season against Heriot’s was a big disappointment, probably due to the fact that we did not show anything in the game, but also because it was such a big occasion as our first Super6 game with a big home crowd. However, the reaction from that point is what we are interested in. It was useful to get out in the open what the minimum expectations of the group were and dealing with set-backs can often bring about the biggest improvements.”

4. Biggest lesson learned?

“I think the group has learnt that it is a week-by-week competition this year, in that if you don’t turn up you will lose as the other teams are all strong. Sometimes you can tell the players something, but it isn’t until they experience it and see the other results for themselves that they fully appreciate the competition they are in this year, and what we will need to deliver week-on-week.”

5. Target for the rest of the season?

“The target for the rest of the season is improvement. If we can improve in all areas of our game and refine what we are doing then we can improve performance levels. That goes for off pitch as well as on, as most successful teams are built on strong cultures.”

Turnberry Hotel

Graham Shiel of Boroughmuir Bears:

1. Rate your season so far?

“Overall comfortable with the improvements that Boroughmuir Bears have made through the off season and in the first half of the season. Players are fitter, stronger and more robust that previously has been the case, and that is allowing us to have more consistency across 80 minutes.”

2. Highlight of the season so far?

“Off the pitch was the effort by all involved at Boroughmuir to make the first FOSROC Super 6 game a resounding success and generating the biggest crowd of the competition to date. On the pitch, the improvement in 7 days between playing Watsonians away and at home, with some amendments to our game and effort by players to be far more competitive in the home fixture.”

3. Biggest disappointment?

“Game one versus Stirling, where we were unable to make the home advantage count and get the excellent crowd into the fixture.”

4. Biggest lesson learned?

“Kicking game is key.”

5. Target for the rest of the season?

“Continued improvement in consistency of performances with an ambition to continue to develop and play attacking rugby with a target to compete for a top four finish.”

Scottish Rugby Taxi Board Game

Phil Smith of Heriot’s Rugby:

1. Rate your season so far?

“While the stats will show a 60% win rate, I really believe I would rate our season closer to eight out of 10.”

2. Highlight of the season so far?

“Working with the next wave of youngster such as Harry Paterson, Jack Mann, Charlie Jupp, Dan Gamble and Scott King. They have been excellent both on and off the pitch, injured or fully fit, bringing a real youthful exuberance that is refreshing.”

3. Biggest disappointment?

“Our second half performance versus Watsonians. Losing Iain Wilson and Jack Mann didn’t help, but we should have ben better.”

4. Biggest lesson learned?

“To trust your squad. The ridiculous situation of players not being able to play down has meant we have been determined to give everyone a platform to play. Remember, these lads pay their subs like everyone else.”

5. Target for the rest of the season?

“A home semi-final.”

Heriots v Ayrshire Bulls

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Rob Chrystie of Southern Knights:

1. Rate your season so far?

“Sitting sixth out of six at Christmas was clearly not where we wanted to be. However, in all our fixtures apart from the Ayrshire Bulls game we have been very much in the game, and with all the squad being utilised this will stand us in good stead moving forward. Our victory over Boroughmuir Bears in last Friday’s re-arranged fixture was a boost to the boys and reward for their hard-work and continued focus over the Christmas break. I hope that tough start will make us stronger as a group in the long run.

2. Highlight of the season so far?

“The first fixture at The Greenyards was an excellent occasion with a really big crowd from across the area and an atmosphere to match. I felt the standard of the game was also a representation of what Super6 was introduced to deliver.”

3. Biggest disappointment?

“As a group, we all agreed that the way we played against Ayrshire Bulls was not of the standard we had all set ourselves. However, since then the management and playing squad have reacted well and are determined to work hard to improve as a collective.”

4. Biggest lesson learned?

“It’s okay to be in a tight game.”

5. Target for the rest of the season?

“Continue to develop an environment for players to come in and further develop and keep improving as a full squad. Retention of players and development of the whole squad is, in my opinion, key when moving into the cross-border competition.

Apartments in Leith

Ben Cairns of Stirling County:

1. Rate your season so far?

“We’d definitely be below par. We’ve been ahead, or in a good position considering the conditions, at half-time of every game, so to only be sitting with one win and one draw is really disappointing.”

2. Highlight of the season so far?

“Has to be the away win against the Bears in the very first match of Super6. I thought the Bears did an excellent job in promoting the game and creating a really good match-day experience. It was a cracking atmosphere and really set the bar for the competition.”

3. Biggest disappointment?

“The last 20 minutes versus Watsonians in round three. We were 22-5 up and controlling the match against the only other unbeaten side in the competition at that stage, so to let that slip was really tough to take. It’s probably had a lasting effect, too, and has played a part in how our three matches since then have gone.

4. Biggest lesson learned?

“Super6 is a new competition and everyone involved is learning all the time. It’s certainly been a great learning experience for myself and it would be really hard to pin it down to one main thing.”

5. Target for the rest of the season?

“We have four matches left, three of which are at home and one away trip to the Southern Knights. We’ve got a really good opportunity to create some momentum and push into the play-off spots. That remains the on-field goal and once we are there, with a bit of momentum behind us, who knows …”

Scottish Rugby Taxi Board Game

Fergus Pringle of Watsonians:

1. Rate your season so far? 

“In rating the season so far, I think there has been some real progress in developing the rugby programme as a whole. There is more S&C support for players and more training opportunity on and off the pitch together as a squad. This has really helped our players and staff to improve and progress. Our players and staff have worked hard and put a lot of effort into the season from day one, buying into the concept of more commitment for the Fosroc Super6 competition. So, in those areas I would say there has been some success. Because it’s a new concept and players and staff are being exposed to new situations and scenarios, we also make some mistakes and get things wrong, but continue to try and learn and adapt all the time. There are a lot of things we feel we can still improve and develop further but this takes time and resource and is part of the process.”

2. Highlight of season so far?

“A highlight of the season has been seeing how the group of players have come together, committed to work really hard and gelled as a group collectively. We had 15 new players coming to the club and almost a whole new staff. It naturally takes time to get to know people and develop those relationships, but I would say that journey has been a highlight.”

3. Biggest disappointment?

“Not necessarily a big disappointment but I would say the quality of some of the pitch surfaces we have played on and the conditions we have played in has been tough. There’s a collective effort to improve standards and provide a good product for people to support. It’s very difficult for players in some of the conditions they play in to do that. Obviously it’s been out of our control weather-wise and in season two the earlier start to the domestic season will make a difference in this area.”

4. Biggest lesson learned?

“Regardless of what the table says, there is very little between the six teams when they are at full strength. There are no easy games and each game counts that much more because there are only six teams. On the day, it is fine margins and any team can beat you if you don’t turn up and perform.”

5. Target for the rest of the season?

“Our focus is on improving certain aspects of our game and taking it one game at a time. We know we have a lot of room to improve and need to keep getting better individually and collectively.”


Huge hike in SRU top executive salaries revealed

Super6PWLDFADiffTBLBPts
Watsonians9720226159672232
Heriot's Rugby9630233175583229
Ayrshire Bulls8530161139223023
Southern Knights8341181167143320
Stirling County8251142189-472113
Boroughmuir Bears8170164278-114329

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Heriots v Ayrshire Bulls
David Barnes
About David Barnes 1712 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

9 Comments

  1. Having Super6 games on at the same time as Edinburgh Rugby matches doesn’t make sense.
    Also,BBC Sport doesn’t give the results..which means waiting g till Monday to find out the scores.

  2. Haven’t ventured to a Knights game, but think hosting the games in warmer months is a great idea. Far more likely to get 1K+ crowds and have an atmosphere you want to get back to.

    • Two men and a dog at these games .
      Of no interest at all with supporters
      There’s more interest in prem 1 & nat 1 & 2 .
      Just look at the support Biggar get at matches.
      That’s what it should be .local teams that mean something to punters. Not a bunch of strangers
      Just my opinion .

    • Walter that’s fair enough. I’ve had a season ticket for a National 1 team and TBH the quality was hit and miss – but the clincher was that it was sub-zero temps. All of this in Summer IMO would work out better

    • Think of all the buses for clubs games over the season that could be paid for with Dodsons ridiculous pay rise.
      Many clubs struggle every week to pay for bus transport and basic equipment
      Are these Clowns in Murrayfield actually aware about these things .

  3. Super 6 is going to be great. I think the players are already looking bigger, stronger and fitter and the developments in this regard will help bridge that gap to the pro teams.

    A positive start.

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