Edinburgh Accies prepare for B&I Cup tie

Alex Blair scored a penalty for Accies. Picture by JANE BARLOW.
Alex Blair scored a penalty for Accies. Picture by JANE BARLOW.
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Edinburgh Accies assistant coach Malcy McVie is urging his men to use the forthcoming break from the RBS Premiership as a learning experience. For the second successive Saturday, the Raeburn Place men were beaten on league duty, this time going down 30-8 against a well-drilled Gala outfit still smarting from a loss against Melrose seven days earlier.

And the Borderers showed their qualities as they dominated proceedings for lengthy spells, eventually taking all five league points to remain firmly in the title race. Like Accies, Gala will now take a break from domestic duty to focus on the British & Irish Cup.

But McVie is not putting any pressure on his players ahead of a home tie with Welsh club, Pontypridd, on Saturday.

He said: “It’s great for the club to be involved, and we will use it as a learning process. You can see the likes of Gala and other sides who have competed in that cup already – there’s a hardness that comes from that. So hopefully we can make the most of it and learn from it.”

Accies’ build up will focus on eradicating the errors which had surfaced in the loss to Heriot’s and recurred against Gala.

“Some areas were slightly improved but for the most part we made the same mistakes again and that’s probably the most frustrating thing,” added McVie, who was disappointed that, unlike their last performance against Borders opposition, his players had again failed to impose themselves against a Gala side that dominated for lengthy spells.

“In our game against Melrose, we were very direct in defence and we were off our line quick and we got our hits in. We didn’t look as physical as that either at Heriot’s or here,” he added.

Accies could consider themselves fortunate that they reached the interval only 20-5 in arrears after Gala had played most of the first 40 minutes in the home half. Tries from Andy McLean, Steve Cairns and Tom Weir plus a conversion and a penalty by Ewan Scott eased the visitors into a 20-0 lead before Accies made a rare visit to opposition territory and Alex Blair combined with Callum Reid to send Sam Pecqueur racing in at the corner.

Blair trimmed the deficit by a further three points when he slotted a penalty shortly after the restart.

Accies enjoyed their best spell of possession, but that proved to be brief and Ewan Scott, with a penalty, cancelled out Blair’s strike and then added the conversion after Gala clinched the bonus point try late in the match when Liam Draycott darted in.

Reid’s return to action had come sooner than anticipated, with Andrew Findlater leaving the fray through injury early in the match. A bruising encounter took its toll on Accies and McVie admitted that enforced changes against a side of Gala’s quality made the home side’s task even more difficult and limited the opportunities to change the shape of the game. “We were playing with a hooker in the back row and Gala were making the changes they wanted for the reasons they wanted to make them,” he said.

McVie and his coaching colleagues are now relishing the opportunity to sample a new level of competition, and will look to use the defeat as a catalyst as they prepare to welcome visitors who slipped from top spot in the Principality Premiership after drawing at Llandovery on Saturday.

“We weren’t generating enough quality set piece ball and never really built any kind of platform,” admitted McVie. “We have a break from the league now and we’ve just got to try and bounce.”

Scorers:

Edinburgh Accies: Try: Pecqueur; Pen: Blair.

Gala: Tries: McLean, Cairns, T Weir, Draycott; Cons: Scott (2); Pens: Scott (2).

Edinburgh Accies: N Godsmark, J Farndale, E Campbell, I Berthinussen, S Pecqueur, A Blair, S Evans, A Allan, M Liness, S Strudwick, G Campbell, N Aitken, R Snape, A Findlater, T Stuart.

Subs Used: D Morrison, F Rawlinson, C Reid, J Sole, R Bonner.

Gala: G Speirs, G Somerville, C Auld, E Scott, L Draycott, A McLean, Geo Graham, R Sutherland, R Anderson, E McQuillin, C Weir, C Borthwick, Gary Graham, S Cairns, T Weir.

Subs Used: C Mackintosh, R Tod, G Lowrie, G Hart, C Robertson.

Referee: E Rizzo (Italy).