Super6: Watsonians maintain winning ways with five-try win at Southern Knights

Bruce Ruthven has challenged his Southern Knights team to produce an 80 minutes performance. Image: © Craig Watson -
Bruce Ruthven and his Southern Knights squad have deepening injury worries to deal with after their loss to Watsonians. Image: © Craig Watson -



ALAN LORIMER @ The Greenyards

SOUTHERN Knights will face a difficult six days before playing their second FOSROC Super6 match in the latest iteration of the genre after suffering six injuries during their defeat to Watsonians. Over the piece there were five casualties among the backs and one from the forward pack, and with carry-over injuries from the Sprint Series still affecting the Melrose-based franchise, Knights may have to apply for further loan players. 
“We’ll have to wait until Monday to see how bad the injuries are but we know it’s going to be tough next week. We’ve still got a few guys injured from last season so they won’t be back for several weeks. We may have to get some players on loan once again,” revealed Bruce Ruthven, the Southern Knights head coach.
Ruthven, however, was not too disheartened.  He said: “The boys actually played well in the first half. But the first 20 minutes of the second half was hard with our injuries”.
There was little doubt that the string of injuries that crippled the Knights’ effort made winning much easier for Watsonians. But even without the injury handicap, Knights would have struggled against a Watsonians side that had strength in depth on their bench, power in the pack, and not a little panache behind the scrum where centre Connor Eastgate was hugely impressive.
Overall it was a win that pleased Watsonians’ coach, Fergus Pringle. “It was a tough first half but we thought that if we could keep up the same intensity and use the wind advantage we would get ahead in the game. It felt a bit like a pre-season game with all the mistakes,” reflected Pringle.
Knights’ defence adviser Alan Tait must have had a sense of satisfaction in the opening quarter of the game during which his charges put in what seemed a season’s worth of tackles to keep out a Watsonians side that dominated territory and possession.
In the event the Myreside men were unable to convert close-range possession into points, failing on three occasions to score from driving line-outs while little headway behind the scrum. Watsonians’ pressure, however, was not totally without result, a penalty goal from Jason Baggott giving the visitors a narrow lead after half an hour’s play.
But the advantage was short lived. Cameron Scott’s accurate restart kick put Watsonians in trouble and when Kyle McGhie and Fraser Renwick combined and Ruaridh Knott twice tore holes in the opposition’s defence, Sam Derrick finished off this pressure play with a close-range try.
Watsonians replied with sustained attacking and from a perfectly directed cut-out pass from Eastgate, Neil Irvine-Hess barged over for a try converted by Baggott.
With the wind behind them in the second half and their opponents depleted by injuries, Watsonians used their advantage to achieve a try and conversion by Baggott, and then a close-range try from Lewis Berg, after the forwards had made inroads with pick-and-drive play. Lee Millar, coming on for Baggott and showing clever touches, added the conversion.
An Angus Guthrie try and Millar conversion soon followed before Karl Main finished off powerful approach work by Berg. But in the last few minutes Knights regrouped and from a tap penalty Struan Cessford, who like Duncan Hood had been loaned by Heriot’s, crashed over for his side’s second try, converted by replacement David Colvine to complete the scoring.
Teams –
Southern Knights: A Cross; P Anderson, R Chalmers, C Scott, W Wara; C Grieve, K McGhie; G Shiells, F Renwick (captain), A Brace, J Campbell, R Knott, A Ferrie, W Nelson, S Derrick. Substitutes: D Hood, C Bowker, S Cessford, E Demirel, J Miller, D Crawford, K Clark, D Colvine.
Watsonians: D Coetzer; L MacPherson, L Berg, C Eastgate, A Guthrie; J Baggott, M Scott; H Courtney, C Wilson, C Lamberton, L Ball, J Berrisford, S Cecil (captain), K Main, N Irvine-Hess. Substitutes: C Davies, R Bratton, R Deans, K van Niekirk, I Moody, R Brand, L Millar, H Paterson.
Referee: J Perriam.
Scorers –
Southern Knights: Tries: Derrick, Cessford. Con: Colvine.
Watsonians: Tries: Irvine-Hess, Baggott, Berg, Guthrie, Main. Cons: Baggott 2, Millar 2.  Pen: Baggott.
Scoring sequence (Southern Knights first): 0-3, 5-3, 5-8, 5-10 (ht) 5-15, 5-17, 5-22, 5-24, 5-29, 5-31, 5-36, 10-36, 12-36.
Man of the Match: Watsonians’ Connor Eastgate looked a strong bet for a professional contract with either Edinburgh or Glasgow after starring for Scotland Under-20s at the Junior World Championship. Now after several years out of the top flight, Eastgate is based in Edinburgh and makes no secret of his ambition to play at a higher level. And certainly his passing and kicking game allied to a strong defence could make this dream reality. But much will depend on how he fares in the remainder of the Super6 season.
Talking point: Southern Knights struggled at the end of the Sprint Series and the injures sustained then, added to the heavy casualties against Watsonians, will in the short term,  make it very difficult for the Greenyards-based outfit to operate at the level to which they aspire. Could this be the moment when Murrayfield steps in to offer a helping hand?
About Alan Lorimer 238 Articles
Scotland rugby correspondent for The Times for six years and subsequently contributed to Sunday Times, Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Scotsman, Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald and Reuters. Worked in Radio for BBC. Alan is Scottish rugby journalism's leading voice when it comes to youth and schools rugby.


  1. Some of the so called signings for the Southern Kights . There are players being signed that were melrose second players 2 years ago . The club has lost its form . Look at the team from last year’s final . Think there is 3 players left from this group . This has nothing to do with 3g pitch or injury this is down to poor management and coaching .
    J Henry (S Pecqueur  76); P Anderson, N Godsmark, B Wara (C Scott 55), S Pecqueur (A Mitchell. 70); J Baggott, M McAndrew (C Jones 70); G Shiells (S Gunn 49), F Renwick (R Anderson 49), E McLaren, D Suddon, A Runciman, H Borthwick, R Knott (A Ferrie 70), I Moody (D Redpath 25).
    Only . R Knott . P Anderson and F Renwick
    From the team that finished 2nd last year

  2. Why are so many coments are about the pitch and not about why will players not play for the knights .and its has nothing to do with playig at the greenyards .for the they had the best squad if all super six teams .now thre struggling to get a full quota of pkayers how can they do anything if on a Thursday night they have 3 new players and they havent a clue what to do in defensive or attack .then they blame the pitch for getting beat !!!!!????

  3. Think its more about the intensity of the games than the pitch . When you look at the number of people using the pitch compaired to the injuries .why do rugby players use 21 mm studs on a 3g surface???? And then complian that there foot had too much grip ???

  4. Do you know a lot about 3g pitches Ron ? Or who helped provide the Melrose pitch ? Or are you just posting to have a go at the SRU as a disgruntled ex SRUee being driven as a getaway !!!!

  5. Melrose have always been up their own arsse .aloof to any other club .
    Ask any rugby supporter in Borders .
    All other rugby teams and fans can mix and get on great bar a couple of rants now and then .
    But This super 6 regime is geared towards Melrose interests .nobody else in Borders matters
    You reap what you sow .

    • And Boroughmuir S6 aren’t all about Boroughmuir? And Watsonians S6 aren’t all about Watsonians? And Heriot’s S6 aren’t all about Heriot’s? And Stirling S6 aren’t all about Stirling?

      Melrose got a poisoned chalice when they were awarded a franchise that is supposed to represent a region unlike the others but based at their ground.

      But at least it gives deeply unpleasant posters who think they speak on behalf of everyone an opportunity to highlight their agendas eh?

      • Melrose were doing just fine with the franchise until the new board and coaching team came along . I feel extremely sad for hard working men like Mike Dalgety and Robert Crystie who poured everything into making this club at the forefront of the Scottish game . Only for 2 years later now struggling to raise a team . I’m not even sure if the southern knights have a full squad of 35 players .
        Some reports are they have only signed 25 That’s 10 short . No wonder they have injury problems

      • Melrose weren’t “given” a regional franchise, Melrose built their bid around a franchise which they decided to give a regional identity in an attempt to attract interest and investment from beyond the Greenyards. Unfortunately for them it seems that this has not only failed to attract that external support but has also failed to attract the interest of many of their own members who would rather support their club. Them’s the breaks.

      • JW .
        You were the one who said no .repeat no .Southern Knights players were in the Melrose 7 squad .
        Actually if you recall you said one was a teacher at St Mary’s so couldn’t be part of Knights squad .
        Oh Dear .
        Who was lying eh ?.
        Melrose Bending the rules at to suit themselves…never

    • Is this because Gala and Hawick both failed with their Super6 bids? Would you be saying the same if it was your club?

  6. This has nothing to do with the 3g pitch . This is down to bad management. There are more knight’s players at other super 6 teams than are left at the greenyards . Why is that finalistslast time round with a squad to envy any team . The ego of the director ,the coach and the new board have chased 70% of the squad away . What’s left are kids doing there best . So guess what this is a physical league. These kids are going to get injured. Southern Kights have lost players like
    Neil Irvine hess. Ian moody . Jason Baggott. Murdo mcandrew . Dalton redpath . Craig Jackson. Sam pecure . Nyle gobsmark. Jacob Henry. Just to name a few but why ??? . There recruitment has been zero.
    I’m afraid Mr Moffat and Ruthven are out of there depths and need to be replaced. Not just for this franchise but they are going to pull the whole league down with them .looks like melrose need to stop spending there money on expensive tours to Canada and get a recruitment drive in place

    • Isn’t going on tour to Canada and enjoying playing the game and making memories and life experiences what rugby is all about? The Southern Knights are a separate entity from the Melrose club, are they not?

      P.s. that was a genuine question about the 3G surface, I know it has been a point of contention within the English Premiership and I am genuinely interested as to whether the 3G surface has been a contributing factor.

      • Sadly it seems rugby is all about petty-minded prejudices for some people Scot Abroad. The spirit of rugby has passed them by (and who can blame it?).

      • Melrose and knights are in it together. Melrose 7s, Southern knight players playing for the Melrose 7 team. SRU should have supported getting a South team up and running and taking it round the border grounds, play on Friday nights, think that would have been huge success.

      • Grey Gorilla
        Totally agree with your comment
        Someone came on here and denied Southern Knights players were playing for Melrose at their 7s tourney .
        Lo and behold 4 players were .
        No other Borders clubs had any .
        That’s what Melrose do .it’s for their benefit .nobody else’s

  7. Ryan Sweeney at Ayrshire Bulls, sustained an ACL injury, requiring surgery, on that pitch, just a few months ago. Too many coincidences, he’s out for the season. Get the grass back.

  8. In yet another walloping for the SK’s, With the Greenyards artificial pitch claiming a further 6 victims – suggestions of further artificiality across the contrived Silly 6 field of Dodson’s dreams if “Murrayfield steps in to offer a helping hand”.

    What kind of lunacy are we witnessing? With every passing fixture, it just goes from bad to worse, to even worse, and unimaginably bad! And – all the while as SRU apologists lick their lips, their franchised lackeys plunder the playing resources of honest amateur grassroots community clubs.

    You couldn’t make this horror story car-crash scenario up. Oh, wait a moment – a blustering, bonused Mancunian did just that!

    • Undoubtedly! Installed at great cost to Melrose RFC, Scottish Borders Council and the dear old SRU, to lubricate Mark Dodson’s fanciful dream. Soon to require comprehensive maintenance / replacement, of course…. (The pitch – Dodson is in place until 2025!)

      • You sure ,cost to melrose ? Think it has to do with otherthings than the pitch ,ask watsonians they were not complaining about the pitch and the surface .

      • Do you know a lot about 3g pitches Ron ? Or who helped provide the Melrose pitch ? Or are you just posting to have a go at the SRU as a disgruntled ex SRUee being driven as a getaway !!!!

    • Most studies show there is no link Scot Abroad. Otherwise why would so many clubs throughout the UK be installing them?

      But that doesn’t suit various posters agendas of course.

      • There are two very good reasons why clubs would install them JW. They can withstand more regular use than grass and they can be a good source of income. There are a number of top professionals in England who are very vocal in their opposition to them but as you say, it’s hard to find any conclusive evidence either way. If the current level of injuries at the Southern Knights is unrelated to the surface, that’s good news. Hopefully all affected are back fit soon.

    • Think its more about the intensity of the games than the pitch . When you look at the number of people using the pitch compaired to the injuries .why do rugby players use 21 mm studs on a 3g surface???? And then complian that there foot had too much grip ???

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