The Offside Line names its Super6/Series All-Time Dream Team

After 209 games over four years and seven months, David McAdam makes his selection from the near 700 players who tasted this tier of rugby

Logan Trotter of Stirling Wolves and Tom Jordan of Ayrshire Bulls have both progressed from Super6/Series onto Glasgow Warriors contracts. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Logan Trotter of Stirling Wolves and Tom Jordan of Ayrshire Bulls have both progressed from Super6/Series onto Glasgow Warriors contracts. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SUPER6/SERIES has always been controversial within Scotland. For some it was never wanted. For others it was a good idea, poorly executed. For those who committed to it, it proved a significant stepping stone to advance rugby careers in playing, coaching and commentating!

Scottish Rugby’s website is reporting that across four years and seven months, 209 games were played with about 700 players have tasted this tier of competition, so how do we go about choosing a Dream Team across all seven competitions of the series?

An impossible task really, and one that might need a players’ vote to determine it within any kind of objectivity. For this fun exercise we have focussed on four criteria: most appearances, most points in terms of tries and kicks, biggest impact on a series or a club, and most progress in the professional game for an individual who had Super6/Series as the foundation of their journey.


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So here we go …

Beginning with full-back. Dan Coetzer started 41 games for Watsonians, the most starts of any full-back in the series. Ollie Smith only played for Ayrshire Bulls in the first series, but used it as a launch pad to Glasgow Warriors and Scotland. Glenn Bryce returned to Stirling Wolves after a professional career and was a key player in their reaching two successive finals in the last two series. But it is his predecessor in the Wolves 15 shirt we have opted for. In his 23 games over the first four series, Logan Trotter stood out as a class apart for his counter-attacking running and defensive kicking. He won himself a professional contract at London Irish, and when that club collapsed he returned north to join Glasgow Warriors. He has yet to make a breakthrough at Scotstoun but in his two appearances for Glasgow ‘A’ in the recent Sprint, he demonstrated he is still a level above most players in Super Series. His time is still to come.

On the wings, Lomond MacPherson is one of 12 players to appear in every series and was a consistent try-scoring threat throughout his 50 appearances for Watsonians in the competition. Joe Jenkins also chalked up 50 appearances though in his case he played for two clubs – Southern Knights and Boroughmuir Bears. Jacob Henry made a big impression early on in the series for Southern Knights and then suffered terrible injuries, but Edinburgh have shown faith in him and he has been rewarded with a professional breakthrough this season and a new two-year contract.

Jamie Shedden has a similar physique and if anyone demonstrates what Super Series rugby was designed to do it is this Ayrshire lad o’ pairts. He joined Marr from Kilmarnock the season before Super Series rugby started, made such an early impression in the Premiership that he was signed for Ayrshire Bulls for series three, and since then he has played consistently across the back-line, scoring 20 tries in 29 starts. His versatility secures him a bench place in our Dream Team.

But our selection goes to two substantially built wingers who have used Super Series rugby to gain wider recognition. Jordan Edmunds started 19 times for Boroughmuir Bears over the first two series, and on the back of that won a Scotland 7s contract and has gone on to play for GB7s. On the opposite wing, Ross McKnight has got better and better as the series has progressed. He first appeared in series two as a raw 18-year-old for Stirling Wolves. A couple of series later he was switched by the Academy coaches to Watsonians to give him a different learning environment, but it was in the last two series after he returned to Bridgehaugh that he really excelled. His 31 tries across the six series makes him the top try-scoring back in the competition, and providing he is now given the right opportunities, he has the physique to be a long-term successor to Duhan Van Der Merwe as a powerful finisher for Scotland.

 

 

In the centre, Lewis Berg played in all seven series for Watsonians and with 55 appearances is the most ‘capped’ back in the competition. Marcus Holden recovered from an injury-impacted first season with Stirling Wolves to become the most consistent kicker across the league (327 points), leading the Bridgehaugh side to the Championship in series six. Cameron Hutchison and Robbie McCallum both stood out for Edinburgh clubs in the first two series and won professional contracts on the back of their performances, while Patrick Anderson, Scott Robeson and Scott King all had outstanding competitions at some point in the history of Super Series.

But for our centre pairing, we have settled on two players who have both made 40 starts across six of the seven series. Robert Beattie arrived at Millbrae for series two and has been an on-field coach to an array of young attacking talent around him, developing his game to be a prolific creator of tries for others. Outside him, we have opted for another player who started at Millbrae but has blossomed in Edinburgh with Heriot’s, Matt Davidson. His searing pace and eye for a gap has catapulted him into contention for GB7s and hopefully one of the Scottish pro teams will sign him up in the near future. He is that good.

When Tom Jordan arrived in the west of Scotland for the start of Super Series, he was just another utility back jetting in from overseas to give the new competition a try. (Who remembers Shabart, Beary and McNulty now?). But it is doubtful if any player has used the semi-professional league as more of a springboard than the New Zealander. If Glasgow Warriors beat Munster this weekend, it is likely Jordan will play his 50th game for Glasgow Warriors in two seasons in the URC Final. He earned his opportunity in 22 eye-catching appearances for Ayrshire Bulls that cement his place in our Dream Team.

Bruce Houston was another who came to Scotland specifically to play in Super Series (in his case from Ulster) and his excellence for Heriot’s won him a contract with Cornish Pirates where he has starred in the English Championship this season. Jason Baggott stepped down from a pro contract with Edinburgh to star first for Southern Knights and then Watsonians. His 340 points in just over 50 starts in the competition made him the overall top scorer across the seven series. Stepping up to replace him in the Edinburgh ranks was Cameron Scott, who always looked tidy in his appearances for Southern Knights, but like many of the young players attached to the pro teams he wasn’t made available consistently enough to make a huge impression in Super Series.

Murray Scott is the only scrum-half to appear in all seven competitions, the Watsonian competing in every series against a different rival to be the number one No 9 at Myreside. Murdo McAndrew played alongside him in one series as well as turning out for Southern Knights and Heriot’s and has started more games in that position (27) than anyone else. With almost 50 appearances, Kyle McGhie has more appearances than McAndrew, but more than half of his were as a substitute. He too played for three teams across the series, as did Cameron Jones the young Scottish-Welsh player who won a pro contract with the Ospreys as a result of his performances for Heriot’s, and who will be reunited with his Goldenacre buddy Houston at Cornish Pirates next season. All of these players have their own claims to the No 9 jersey in our Dream Team, but we have settled for two young Scots who have made a big impression beyond Super Series. Kaleem Barreto has gone from a really dominant season with Boroughmuir Bears to be an essential part of the GB7s team on the international circuit, while Ben Afshar has stepped up effortlessly this season from the Glasgow Academy to make nine appearances for Glasgow Warriors on the back of a hugely significant impact for Stirling Wolves when they won the Championship in 2023.

 

 

Props Josh Scott, Chris Keen (both Heriot’s) and Martin McGinley (Boroughmuir Bears) all appeared across all seven series for one club, with Scott and McGinley both reaching the milestone of 50 appearances in the league.  All deserve to be considered for the Dream Team, but we have selected two slightly younger front-row bulwarks who but for injury would probably have achieved similar records. Andrew Nimmo started at Heriot’s before flourishing with Bulls and wins our loose-head selection. Euan McLaren went in the opposite direction – starting at Millbrae before flourishing at Goldenacre via the Greenyards. It is probably one of the unanswered mysteries of Scottish rugby why such promising props have not made the step up to pro level, but despite that their consistency and development across the whole Super Series earns them starting places in our team.

Dan Gamble would be another who has excelled at this level without much love from the pro game. His opportunity could still come. Murphy Walker is the one prop from that generation so far to gain Scotland international honours, and undoubtedly his regular appearances in the early days of Super6/Series for Stirling Wolves contributed to his development. Perhaps he deserves a place in the squad but we’ve opted instead for Michael Scott on the bench, who stepped up from GHA to Ayrshire Bulls, and improved series after series before heading to play rugby in Australia. This season, after starring beside fellow former Super Series players George Thornton and Sam Kitchen for Northern Suburbs in the Shute Shield, he was picked to play for NSW Waratahs in Super Rugby. A tremendous achievement.

It was the fifth series before Jack Dobie entered the constantly changing Southern Knights squad. But in three series since he made his debut he has only missed one game – rested versus Future XV – and for some joyous open prairie running as well as this consistency, this late developer has clinched a place on our bench.

In the middle of the front row there has been a range of impressive contenders. Michael Liness and Alex McGuire are two more one-club men who appeared in every series and achieved more than 50 appearances for their respective sides, Heriot’s and Ayrshire Bulls. Cal Davies totalled more than 50 appearances for Watsonians recording 23 tries. Fraser Renwick and Reyner Kennedy provided excellent leadership for the Knights and the Wolves, respectively, in some tough days for their clubs,  while there was a multitude of young hookers burst on to the scene right through the competitions, with Bears pair Jerry Blyth-Lafferty and Corey Tait rewarding the faith put in them at tender years with outstanding development.

But if Jordan is the best backs example of how Super Series could be a launchpad, then surely Gregor Hiddleston has done the same in the forwards. From Dumfries, he played a couple of seasons for GHA, before Stirling Wolves took a punt on the distinctive green-capped mobile hooker. 24 starts later he was starring as Stirling Wolves won the Championship, and his performances secured him a full0-time contract at Glasgow where he has so far made nine appearances. A full Scotland cap may well follow this Summer.

It is easy to forget that when Jamie Hodgson had a 100 percent appearance record in the first series of Super6 for Watsonians he had no contract with Edinburgh. Although other young locks – Cameron Henderson, Marshall Sykes, Max Williamson and Alex Samuel – have also stepped up impressively from this tier to professional contracts, there is a sense that all of them might have made it with or without Super Series rugby. Not so with Hodgson – it really was his performances in the first sequence of matches that won him his contract at Edinburgh, and subsequent Scotland selection. Ronan Seydak, Ruairidh Leishman, Keiran Watt and James Pow are the locks who have appeared in all seven series, each of them being one-club men again. Seydak and Pow are both in the 50 appearance club, as are Jack Fisher, Luis Ball and Ed Bloodworth. A case could be made for any of those listed here to be in the final Dream Team, but the romantic in me has opted for Pow and Fisher, who in stepping up from Kirkcaldy and Preston Lodge to become mainstays at Stirling and Boroughmuir demonstrated there are some significantly talented players in National League rugby who with appropriate opportunity can blossom well beyond national age-grade teams.

 

 

Blair Macpherson stands head and shoulders above every other Super Series player. Not only has he appeared in all seven series for Ayrshire Bulls but he appeared in every single one of their fixtures and scored a remarkable 40 tries across his 65 games. For his consistency, strike-rate and leadership he surely would win any vote for the most influential player across the whole of Super series. His dominance from No 8 means there was really no competition for that position, although Jack Mann, whose 14 appearances for Heriot’s earned him a Glasgow contract, Benedict Grant of Stirling Wolves and Trystan Andrews of Boroughmuir Bears all had their own series of outstanding play.

Beside Macpherson, the open-side berth comes down to a choice between three players. Connor Gordon made more than 50 appearances for Stirling Wolves and Scott McGinley would have done likewise for the Bears had he not missed the last season completely through injury, but both lose out narrowly in selection to Heriot’s skipper Iain Wilson with the rangy backrower’s 27 tries in 44 appearances overshadowed only by the prolific Macpherson.

A number of players made compelling cases for the last back-row slot. Ruaridh Knott was a key member of the Southern Knights team that reached the first Championship final in series two, while his experience was central to Stirling Wolves’ Championship win in series six. His contribution there was all the more remarkable because of the distances he was travelling every week from his Highland home for training and matches. Allan Ferrie and Harry Borthwick developed well beside Knott at the Greenyards and became leaders in a young pack when many experienced players left the Greenyards. Ferrie made almost 50 appearances for the Knights, and although Borthwick played considerably less, he was always selected when fit, and won many man-of-the-match awards for his uncompromising style. At the younger end of the spectrum, Liam McConnell burst onto adult rugby with stand-out performances for Boroughmuir Bears leading to the captaincy of the Scotland U20s squad, while Freddy Douglas, a year younger, was a constant and thrilling prospect in the continuously beaten Future XV team in the last Championship. He may well be THE player to emerge out of that demoralising experience as a top class international in years to come.

TOL’s Super6/Series All-Time Dream Team (players listed with the club they last played for):

 

15. Logan Trotter (Stirling Wolves)

 

14. Jordan Edmunds (Boroughmuir Bears)

13. Matt Davidson (Heriot’s)

12. Robert Beattie (Ayrshire Bulls)

11. Ross McKnight (Stirling Wolves)

 

10. Tom Jordan (Ayrshire Bulls)

9. Kaleem Barreto (Boroughmuir Bears)

 

1. Andrew Nimmo (Ayrshire Bulls)

2. Gregor Hiddleston (Stirling Wolves)

3. Euan McLaren (Heriot’s)

4. Jamie Hodgson (Watsonians)

5. Jack Fisher (Boroughmuir Bears)

6. Harry Borthwick (Southern Knights)

7. Iain Wilson (Heriot’s)

8. Blair Macpherson (Ayrshire Bulls)

Replacements –

16. Michael Liness (Heriot’s)

17. Jack Dobie (Southern Knights)

18. Michael Scott (Ayrshire Bulls)

19. James Pow (Stirling Wolves)

20. Freddy Douglas (Edinburgh ‘A’)

21. Ben Afshar (Stirling Wolves)

22. Jason Baggott (Watsonians)

23. Jamie Shedden (Ayrshire Bulls)


Help tell the story of Murrayfield’s 100 years as the home of Scottish rugby

 

About David McAdam 21 Articles
David has been watching club rugby round Scotland for more years than he can remember. Currently working for a charity supporting people returning to community after time in prison, Saturday afternoons are time to himself, standing behind posts, somewhere in the West of Scotland watching the progress of young Scottish players & enjoying the banter of local rugby people.

7 Comments

  1. First of all, well done to the players that have made the super series team. Was a great series to watch and especially teams getting better throughout the competition. The article is well written but a bit disappointed to see really long term campaigners and really “great” players didn’t make the all time side. I think Whoever made up this side tend to forget about some players stats and what they have done. One player do stand out,and such a shame. Played almost 50 games for his club. People tend to forget that this player started at wing at the club when he was actually a 10. Then moved to 12 and also played Edinburgh A at 12. At the end was probably the most consisting and exciting fullbacks in all the series. His ability of attacking from the back, making teams unsure of what was going to happen. Having a great boot and kicking game, as well as one of the best defending fullbacks. Did make the dream team 2 years ago. Stood in at 10 this year when the clubs 10 was injured. Can even play at 9 if something happens in a game. This players is probably the best utility back in the series. As they say South Africans don’t have to be the biggest players. They play a thinking game and have a lot off skill, and that has been shown in world rugby in the last few years. such a disappointment that a player of that caliber was not in the dream team. this series will be missed and unfortunately clubs are going to loose a lot of players.

  2. In my opinion it failed dismally. If only Super Six had been run as was intended and the teams hadnt been driven by winning at all costs. Was Super Six not supposed to give young players with potential the ability to train and play at a higher level. That is what is missing in Scottish Rugby. The jump form U18 into adult rugby is massive. If Super Six had been an U23 competition maybe it would have faired better. At least the SRU are now extending the Academy to U23. How many will be picked up in that though or will they just include the lads already in the system. So many excellent players playing at Club level who have been left out of the pathway system.

    • Factually incorrect, Super Series was never intended to give U18 to U20s game time. Sadly anti Super Series people have concocted that story. It is to their great credit that many of the Super Series teams did play youngsters in their teams. Remind me how many U20s were selected for the District championship teams in May?

  3. Thanks for reminding me about the stats published by Scottish Rugby on Super 6. 700 players used. In what universe are there 800+ possible professional rugby players in Scotland? As was pointed out on another article here, players from Nat 2 & 3 were picked to play as well.

    Maybe someone from a Premiership or Nat 1 club can comment on player turnover in their divisions. 116 players per Super side over 5 years seems high to me.

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  4. Great article. It’s a reminder there has been a lot of great rugby played across Super Series. Players have been able to move from this level to pro rugby fairly seamlessly

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  5. Much as I hate to disagree with David, I see one amazing omission from his list of potential members of his Dream Team. No mention of Archie Russell – he would definitely have been in my match-day squad. Maybe he doesn’t have his wee brother’s X-Factor, but, he was still a class act.

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