Currie’s Joe Reynolds kicks crucial penalties in victory over ’Muir

Knuckle down: Richard Snedden  prepares to put the ball into the scrum for visitors Currie. Joe Reynolds, below. Pictures: Scott Louden
Knuckle down: Richard Snedden prepares to put the ball into the scrum for visitors Currie. Joe Reynolds, below. Pictures: Scott Louden
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Currie match-winner Joe Reynolds reckons the acquisition of a new kicking tee after a last-minute scramble for one might finally have turned his rugby fortunes around.

The 24-year-old New Zealander arrived at Currie last season, but a combination of wrist and two knee injuries restricted him to a handful of games. Undeterred, he hung around and is now reaping rewards as shown by slotting seven penalties from as many attempts as Boroughmuir were beaten 21-8 at Meggetland.

“I couldn’t find the kicking tee I’d used for three years this morning and had to ask our team manager if he could dig out another one from somewhere just before kick-off,” grinned Reynolds.

“It’s four years since I have landed as many kicks as that in a match and a combination of the new tee and the type of match ball I really like seems to have done the trick.”

Five of those penalties came inside the last 17 minutes and Reynolds claimed: “Boroughmuir tired in the scrum and our pressure brought ill-discipline allowing us to capitalise.”

Boroughmuir led 8-6 at the interval and when they camped on the Currie line, pressurising Mike Erskine into a yellow card, the odds were stacked heavily in their favour.

However, the ball was held up on one occasion and a key moment came when visiting scrum half Richard Snedden gained a turnover to clear danger.

When ’Muir then squandered a line-out, Currie earned a ruck penalty and sure-footed Reynolds provided a lead they were not to lose.

In claiming a 21-point haul, Reynolds breezed past the half-century points mark for the season, having switched to centre to accommodate close friend James Semple, who pitched up in midweek to play stand off fresh from a spell in Romania with Farul Constanta.

Semple said: “Joe and I were at boarding school together in Auckland and I don’t think I have seen him kick as well as that. He couldn’t miss, which was just as well because we struggled a bit on our scrums and had to get points from somewhere.

“It was all down to heart. If you defend like we did with players willing to die for the jersey, not much more can be asked.

“Definitely it was Sneds who got us off the hook with the turnover and when we got our man back from the sin bin we thought, ‘better make the most of the opportunity’.”

On his stint in Romania, Semple, who notched a last-kick drop goal at Edinburgh Accies last season which ultimately helped Currie avoid a relegation play-off, said: “The players are pretty big out there, but not as skilful. It was a bit of life experience I hope to draw on while at Currie.”

Currie coach Ben Cairns revealed how Reynolds’s involvement was close to being curtailed at the interval. “Joe was struggling with a bang on the leg and we didn’t know how long he’d last. He is not only very skilful, but also a very brave player and his defensive work was vital too.

“We were completely under the cosh, but what won us the game was when we had our lulls; we fought through them without conceding.

“We held them out and went to the other end knowing every time we got a penalty points would follow. They chucked everything at us for 60 minutes and we gutsed it out in the middle 40 especially.”

What also helped was the astute way in which experienced Currie skipper Ross Weston was determined to have the ear of an unconvincing Italian exchange referee and in a match so evenly balanced for long spells that may have been a contributory factor.

Boroughmuir never got on a wavelength with the official and coach Bruce Aitchison said: “We dominated the scrum and then started to concede penalties, which baffled me.

“We [then] lost our shape and when you do that you force offloads. We were also too slow to get to the ball carrier which meant being penalised for holding on waiting for the cavalry to arrive.”

Boroughmuir, whose try came from scrum half Jonny Adams, have now won twice away and lost twice at home.

“Maybe we should up-sticks and play all games away,” said coach Aitchison ruefully, before vowing: “Somebody is going to catch it here.”

Granted it was a blow when pacey winger Jordan Edmunds damaged a hamstring, but Boroughmuir struggled without professionals being released and that must send out a warning signal every bit as worrying as a lack of consistency.

In essence, Currie appeared to want the victory more, though. Pure and simple.

Scorers:

Boroughmuir: Try – Adams. Penalty – Reekie.

Currie: Penalties – Reynolds (7).

Boroughmuir: E Farquharson; C Hunter, C Hardie, M Hare, J Edmunds; D Reekie, J Adams; R Wilson, C Davies, J Latta, T Sutton, I Moody (c), C Keddie, A Rose, J Hare. Subs: S Bingham, A Wallace, A Macfarlane, C Purdon, M Clapperton.

Currie: R Smith; H Elms, F Efthymiou, J Reynolds, C Logan; J Semple, R Snedden; J Cox, M Goodwin, A Hamilton, J Grey, M Vernal, M Miadonovic, R Weston (c), M Peacock. Subs: G Carson, M Erskine, D Swanson, M McPhillips,P Mundell.

Referee: E Rizzo (Italy).