A assistant coach Steve Lawrie admitted Heriot’s benefited from a dose of good fortune as they chalked up their latest bonus-point win, a 34-28 success over Currie at Malleny Park.
The result leaves the Goldencare men level at the top of the BT Premiership.
However, the former internationalist hooker praised his players for the clinical manner in which they capitalised on the opportunities to profit from a yellow card for Currie scrum half Richard Snedden at a pivotal point in the proceedings.
With his side deservedly leading 16-3 – Peter Murchie dotted down for the hosts and Joe Reynolds kicked the other points while Graham Wilson slotted a penalty for Heriot’s – and seemingly in control just two minutes before the interval, the Currie player misread the situation and played the ball in an offside position, earning himself ten minutes in the sin bin.
During his absence, the visitors rattled up a converted try before the break by Gavin Cameron and a quickfire treble from Ben Toolis, Charlie Simpson and Harry Boisseau, meaning they had transformed that 13 point deficit into a 13 point lead by the time Snedden returned to the fray.
Currie struck back with a touchdown from Ross Weston but instantly surrendered the initiative when Russell Nimmo scored a try at the other end. The Heriot’s lock later followed team-mate Struan Cessford in spending time in the sin bin as Currie mounted a strong finish. And the hosts garnered a precious losing bonus point when Weston bagged his second try of the afternoon in the dying seconds.
“We rode our luck a bit in the second half. We had a fantastic spell in that first ten minutes. When Richard Snedden was yellow carded that was certainly the turning point in the game for us,” said Lawrie. “First half we kicked poorly but once we eradicated that it was much improved although, again ill-discipline meant we put ourselves under pressure.”
Naturally, he was delighted to record another five-point haul that strengthens the Heriot’s challenge for a top-four finish and a title play-off spot.
However, Lawrie conceded that a substantial penalty count and two yellow cards had highlighted an area that needs to be addressed ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Melrose.
“It’s a simple fix for us next week in terms of getting our discipline right”, he added, “The guys showed loads of character in defence but we just need to cut out those errors in terms of discipline.”
In the home camp, Currie coach Ben Cairns, an erstwhile colleague of Lawrie at Edinburgh Rugby before both retired from playing because of injury, had mixed feelings.
While the pieces have not yet fallen into place, Cairns is progressing as he bids to impose his style on the team. And, he is in no doubt about the elements that need to change in order to transform Currie into contenders.
“We were a bit naïve,” said Cairns in reference to spell that cost his side the game. We’ve got to look at our senior players. They have to make the decisions and take control. One of those senior guys is Richard Snedden so when you lose him to the bin it’s a big one because you lose control at the base.
“We just didn’t get it right. We compounded one error with another. That’s a big thing for me. Yes, you can have mistakes in games but you can’t make another one and then another one. You go back to basics and build the game back up through the phases then get structure and rhythm back into it. We didn’t do that.”
Despite defeats to the sides currently occupying three of the top-four places, Cairns is fairly satisfied with how his side is playing. And he is in no doubt of the potential within the squad.
“The thing that is really frustrating is that if you take out that 15 minute spell, we controlled that game against a quality team. We are good enough to beat teams like that. We just can’t afford to go from being very good for large parts of the game to really bad for a 10-15 minute spell.”
Currie: Tries: Murchie, Weston (2). Cons: Reynolds (2). Pens: Reynolds (3)
Heriot’s: Tries: Cameron, Toolis, Simpson, Boisseau, Nimmo. Cons: Wilson (3). Pen: Wilson.
Currie: P Murchie, H Elms, F Efthymiou, J Reynolds, R Smith, J Semple, R Snedden, J Cox, K Bryce, A Hamilton, G Temple, J Gray, M Mladenovic, M Peacock, R Weston. Subs used: M Goodwin, M Erskine, R Denonain, M McPhillips, C Logan.
Heriot’s: C Simpson, J Fleming, L Steele, R Carmichael, H Boisseau, S Edwards, G Wilson, G Cameron, D McGregor, S Cessford, R Nimmo, B Toolis, J Turley, J McLean, J Hill. Subs used: N Borel, B Coupar, J Syme, G McNeish, K Buchan.
Referee: S Grove-White.