DOUGIE FIFE served notice that he is ready to take any further chances that come his way with Edinburgh Rugby when putting in another try scoring shift for a Currie side who edged out Boroughmuir 37-32 at Meggetland.
The 22-year-old has already made four appearances for the Capital pro outfit after marking his debut with a try and man-of-the-match honours almost a year ago.
Since then Fife has added to both his physique and repertoire of positions while retaining a sharp eye for a gap.
Last season it was Matt Scott who burst out of the Currie ranks on a journey from Premiership to Test stardom and there is a growing feeling Fife, although far from flawless in a rousing match which saw the visitors score five tries to their opponents’ four, could be next.
“I certainly feel the benefit of a full 12-week pre-season training programme and just to make sure I’ve been paying attention Andy Boyd, the Edinburgh fitness coach, was in the stand,” joked Fife.
What Boyd saw was Fife ghost between two defenders to play a part in the first of Currie’s tries then later outstrip the cover for his own touchdown.
Added Fife: “Thanks partly to Currie I feel I am able to challenge for an Edinburgh place at wing, full back or centre.
“So it was good to help the club build on a winning feeling acquired last week when we beat Aberdeen; that’s two bonus point wins in a row in as open a Premiership as I can remember. Anyone is capable of beating anyone this season and not because standards are low. Far from it.
“Last season Currie lost their opening three games so we have kicked on a bit earlier to give ourselves a chance of doing something.”
In fact, Currie have jumped to fourth and coach Ally Donaldson noted: “After three games last season we had a single point; by the time we had played six games we had 16 points.”
Momentum is clearly building this time, too, but Donaldson is wary of getting carried away. “After a five point win we should be happy but our guys are subdued because although our forwards are going quite well, overall we haven’t clicked yet. It is certainly competitive and nobody is going to be cut adrift at the bottom.
“For us it was a fourth successive game decided by a single score and we can take credit for squeezing through although guys like Sep Visser gave us a lot of trouble.”
Visser was indeed a stand out on the ’Muir wing. However, the player who really caught the eye was 20-year-old Jamie Swanson who impressed among others, Meggetland chairman, Bill Watson, who was capped by Scotland in the same No. 8 position back in the amateur era.
In particular Swanson was immense at driving off the scrum base and breaching the fringe defence. If he maintains current progress then maybe – just maybe – there could be another John Houston in the making.
Houston is the Scotland A centre who progressed to a contract from out of the club scene having missed academy and developmental calls.
In the case of Edinburgh University student Swanson he is now too old for a Scotland under-20 team which capped him 12 times. Not 21 until July, goals must continue to be set for such an outstanding prospect who appears to be coming on apace. A club international cap as the next step? “I certainly haven’t been doing anything differently and really there is no point in looking any further at this stage than a regular run in the Boroughmuir team,” said a modest Swanson afterwards.
“A club international spot is a target but it would be for every player and on Saturday I got the benefit of a tremendous platform established by our front row. Above all I’m just disappointed that the team, having put so much in, finished up losing.”
Boroughmuir coach Fergus Pringle was quick to acknowledge Swanson’s progress in a team who at least landed two bonus points albeit they sit seventh out of ten in the table.
“Jamie has got it in him to do well and we saw it in him against Melrose last season. It’s a case of doing it every week. He’s developing as a young player and has great potential. I’m looking for him to do what he did on Saturday every week.
“At least as a club we came back from 25-37 with five minutes to go for a fourth try and losing bonus point.
“That’s not the first time, though, we have been in the game and conceded a try just before half time which cost us dearly,” said Pringle.
In a match where four players were yellow carded for technical offences – Andy Rose and Malky Clapperton of ’Muir and Currie’s Mike Entwhistle and Simeon James – an early try brace from Andy Hinds put Boroughmuir on the back foot.
Tries from Sep Visser and Damian Hoyland completed a comeback that saw the home side lead 15-12 before Dougie Fife and Ross Merrilees went over for a 24-15 interval advantage. Robin Hislop cut the deficit with ’Muir’s third touchdown but the boot of Jamie Forbes kept Currie in the driving seat as well as a try by Allan Whittingham.
When Forbes kicked a penalty for 37-25 ’Muir looked buried but Alex Henderson’s late touchdown from a forward drive not only ensured two bonus increments but showed that ’Muir have a pack who can hold their own with anyone because Currie look to be setting standards up front.