Edinburgh Accies captain Greg Campbell is adamant that the British & Irish Cup has been a good experience for his players – young and old – despite them slipping to their fifth defeat on the spin in the competition on Saturday.
It was always going to be hard for Accies to compete in Pool Two alongside two English Championship sides and one top Welsh club.
However, in the aftermath of Saturday’s 32-6 loss at home to London Scottish, second-row Campbell said: “We knew after we lost the first match against Pontypridd that we were in for some very tough days and it has proved that way, but we have to look at the bigger picture.
“We have a lot of exciting young players at this club and they have gained invaluable experience. Older players like myself have also learned a lot while Raeburn Place has been buzzing for the three home matches with good crowds and as a player that is something you thrive on.
“We have one more match away to Pontypridd now and we will give it our all and then get our minds back on the league and the national cup.”
As had been the case in the home ties against Pontypridd and London Welsh before Christmas, there was a great atmosphere in the ground for this one. More than 1000 people were at Raeburn Place, including Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson, and they saw the home side get off to a good start. Accies went 6-0 up when scrum half Alex Black kicked two penalties.
The visitors then had a man sin-binned in the 20th minute, back-row Matt Everard, but with 14 they managed to score two converted tries through wingers Mike Doneghan and Pete Homan.
The 14-6 lead became 20-6 at the break thanks to two penalties from full-back James Love and when Accies’ replacement prop Phil Cringle was in the sin-bin they added a third try through captain Mark Bright in the 56th minute.
Another sin-binning came before the end for both sides – Homan for the visitors and Scotland cap Ross Rennie for Accies – and in the frantic finale London Scottish got the all important bonus-point try.
It came through a penalty try in the 78th minute and leaves them top of the pool with one match left.
Scotland coach Johnson was no doubt in attendance to watch Rennie in particular, with the former set to name his RBS Six Nations squad this week.
Rennie showed up pretty well at the breakdown, as the Edinburgh Rugby man always does, but it was hard for him to take control of the match with the Accies’ pack struggling at scrum time.
For Accies, back-row Hamish Watson was his usual nuisance with stand off Iain Chisholm growing in stature now he is being exposed to this level regularly.
Scorers: Edinburgh Accies: Pens: Black 2. London Scottish: Tries: Doneghan, Homan, Bright, Penalty try. Pens: Love 2. Cons: Love 3.
Edinburgh Accies: N Godsmark; J Farndale, E Campbell, R Bonner, S Pecqueur; I Chisholm, A Black; A Allan, S McInally, L Niven, G Campbell, R McAlpine, H Watson, M Coman, R Rennie. Subs used: M Liness, P Cringle, A Toolis, C Reid, A Blair, I Berthinussen, M Coupar.
London Scottish: J Love; M Doneghan, O Grove, PJ Gidlow, P Homan; L Millar, R Shaw; M Irish, T Dunn, T Francis, P Spivey, A Karonias, C Pennycook, M Bright, M Everard. Subs used: J Kilbane, A Kwaznicki, L Thiede, T Hotson, D Newton, M Mantella.
Referee: N Correll (IRFU).