Talking points from round three of the Tennent’s Premiership

Currie Chieftains and Marr are the only two undefeated teams left in the league, while still winless GHA and Musselburgh have cause for encouragement

GHA v Marr
18-year-old GHA debutant Luke McCutcheon makes a break against Marr. Image: Colin Robinson
  • Marr kept their shape much better against GHA than they had against Musselburgh last week and go top of the table on points differential – but it was not an unchallenged romp against GHA at Braidholm – they had to work for every thing they got. They conceded a try straight from the kick-off and it was nip and tuck throughout the first half. Their strong set piece and excellent off-loading skills gradually established their superiority. A happy 50th birthday for coach, Craig Redpath.

 

  • Glorious Autumn sunshine, Malleny in immaculate nick, a reasonable crowd – a day made for rugby – and Currie Chieftains did not disappoint. Fitter, faster and better than Hawick – with Gregor Hunter a class apart – they had the bonus point in the bag and their name engraved on the Bill McLaren Shield by half-time. Their scrum cracked a couple of times – their discipline was much improved – Mike Vernel put in a big shift in the second-row – and Wallace Nelson looked every bit a back row forward. An interesting game at Marr next week.

 

  • Hawick did not get off the bus at Malleny. The travelling support were particularly disappointed by their lack of fight – and were confused by their haphazard shape. Fitness appeared to be a problem.  Andrew Mitchell never got into the game, Gareth Welsh was tempted into too many blind alleys and Bailey Donaldson was moved to full-back when Ali Weir was injured. Their scrum was fairly decent and Polish prop Craig Bachurzewski looks as though he might be useful – but he has some serious work to do. Several very awkward questions need to be answered at Mansfield Park this week.

 

 

  • Edinburgh Accies finally got their show on the road – with a bit of style – against Musselburgh at Stoneyhill. With so many new faces, they might very well be, as Iain Berthinussen claims, a ‘work in progress’ but they have the pedigree to be serious title contenders – and it must be pleasing for him as the products of his BATs programme work their way through to the senior team – including one of their number, Robert Wilson, being nominated man of the match.

 

  • The return of Gregor Law, Garry Young and Dom Buckley gave Jed-Forest a much more workmanlike pack – but they still found it hard going at the set-piece against Hawks at Riverside – and for long spells they were living off scraps. but the Young brothers know how to play hungry. Six tries – 19 points up –  then Garry Law picked up a yellow card and they almost let themselves be muscled out of it. They held on for the bonus point win which will send them up the road to Aberdeen next week in good heart.

 

 

  • The scoreboard did not accurately reflect GHA‘s sterling resistance to Marr. They scored straight from the kick-off and were competitive well into the second half – and they grabbed a four-try bonus point. Continuity has been a problem – they have already used 30 players this season – and they had seven changes in their starting line-up from last week. Debutant stand-off Jack Anderson showed promise, Milan Marinkivic worked tirelessly and No 8 Luke McCutcheon carried well. Chieftains, Hawick, Marr – a tough start to the season – and next week’s opponents Edinburgh Accies’ apparent return to form at Musselburgh is not goods news.

 

  • A difficult afternoon for Musselburgh against Edinburgh Accies – and coach Graeme Paterson is not one to compromise. “There is no way of sugar-coating it, we were second best at everything,” he said. “It’s going to be a long hard season if we have that kind of performance every week. We need to be better than that – we are better than that.” Hard straight-forward chat – but, realistically, Accies, Hawick and Marr were always going to be hugely challenging start to their first campaign in the premiership – and what they now need to do is identify their targets (the games they can win!) – and hit them with everything bar the kitchen sink.
PremiershipPWLDFADTBLBPts
Marr RFC1412115072252829160
Currie Chieftains15114049421727711257
Hawick RFC139313322051277146
Selkirk RFC1677234634335340
Aberdeen16880393501-1085239
Jed-Forest166100404457-538335
GHA RFC166100343511-1686333
Musselburgh164102373591-2187229
Glasgow Hawks154110310413-1035627
Edinburgh Accies13472299338-395126

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