WE have a guest Team-Of-The-Week selection to mark round one of the 2022 Super6 Sprint from regular reader and contributor David Mcadam, who is isolating with Covid at the moment so had the opportunity to watch all three matches on live stream.
Here is his take:
The best game of the weekend was on Friday night between Ayrshire Bulls and Boroughmuir Bears, althoug that may be because the Premier Sports coverage was much better than the sadly often-interrupted signal from Saturday’s two games.
It looks like the teams are going to use the Sprint Series as an opportunity to give new and young players opportunities, although Heriot’s picked what looks like the most experienced possible XV.
At full-back, I’ve gone for Marcus Holden who led Stirling County well having missed almost all of last year’s Super6 through injury. On the wings, it’s a double ‘wee man’ for me – super sub Aaron Tait for Ayrshire Bulls, and the ever alert Patrick Anderson for Southern Knights.
In the centres, I thought Nyle Godsmark of Heriot’s and Robbie McCallum of Boroughmuir Bears had excellent games, though the Currie Chieftains pairing of DJ Innes and Joe Reynolds looked like they had been playing regularly, unlike some of their ring rusty colleagues.
Bruce Houston gets the nod at 10 for helping steer Heriot’s to that confidence-boosting win over the Knights, which they really needed after a disappointing last campaign, although some of the other 10s were good in patches. Meanwhile, Cameron Jones gets the nod at scrum-half after an excellent first half for Ayrshire Bulls against the Bears, just ahead of the consistent Murdo McAndrew of Heriot’s.
There’s plenty of experience in my front-row with Chris Keen and Euan McLaren of Heriot’s either side of Cal Davies of Watsonians, while teenager Corey Tait is unlucky to miss out after an energetic debut for the Bears.
In the second-row, I’ve gone for Glasgow Academy pair Alex Samuel (Bulls) and Max Williamson (Stirling). Samuel was especially impressive in his first game for nine months. Jack Fisher (Bears) and James Pow (Stirling) both impressed off the bench.
In the back row, Jack Mann’s try double for Heriot’s gets him the No 6 jersey, team-mate Ian Wilson was the best player on the pitch at Goldenacre in my opinion at No 7, and Mr Consistency Blair MacPherson led from the front as always for Ayrshire Bulls at No 8.
Boroughmuir forwards Euan Ferrie, Gregor Brown, Hamish Bain, Fisher and Rhys Tait all played well in the half games they got, while tyro scrum-halves Ben Afshar (Knights) or Finlay Burgess (Stirling) both looked the part in their first games at this level.
Finally, how good was it that Stirling County called up Harris McLeod from Kirkcaldy to their squad when Connor Gordon dropped out? I believe both McLeod and Ali Rogers (Ayrshire Bulls) went on the Cashback Schools of Rugby tour to Japan three years ago with Al Kellock – proof if it is needed that there might just be some talent lurking off the beaten track which can be tapped into with a bit of investment and imagination.
15. Marcus Holden (Stirling County)
14. Patrick Anderson (Southern Knights)
13. Nyle Godsmark (Heriot’s)
12. Robbie McCallum (Boroughmuir Bears)
11. Aaron Tait (Ayrshire Bulls)
10. Bruce Houston (Heriot’s)
9. Cameron Jones (Ayrshire Bulls)
1. Chris Keen (Heriot’s)
2. Cal Davies (Watsonians)
3. Euan McLaren (Heriot’s)
4. Max Williamson (Stirling County)
5. Alex Samuel (Ayrshire Bulls)
6. Jack Mann (Heriot’s)
7. Iain Wilson (Heriot’s)
8. Blair MacPherson (Ayrshire Bulls)