Edinburgh Accies coach Jonny Else is calling for a concerted effort from his players, as they build up to this weekend’s trip to face Hawick on RBS Premiership duty.
Else was left ruing a performance that featured several passages of entertaining rugby but ultimately was insufficient to undo an Ayr side hitting form at a crucial point in the campaign. And, although the effort in the 34-12 defeat at the hands of the title holders underlined the endeavour and commitment that exists in the Accies ranks, the positives were offset by a hefty error count that proved damaging to the Capital outfit’s bid for a top four finish.
“We have to turn it around together. We have to play together this week – it’s a massive game against Hawick down there. It will be incredibly tough. We need to focus our minds and cut our errors because it is killing us”, said Else, who conceded that there were few positive aspects to be taken from a result which put paid to any hopes of halting Ayr.
“There’s not many people that can hold their head up high – it was just back to making loads of errors. It was so disappointing. We have been working hard the last couple of weeks to eradicate the errors and then we put in a performance like that,” added the straight talking coach. “But it’s not the end of the world. Ayr are a good side. We need to push on now. We’ve got a big month coming up.”
The source of Else’s frustration was a lack of composure at key moments, most notably when the defence came under pressure and clearance kicks were delivered into the hands of an opposing back line that was relishing the chance to run the ball. That proved to be the source of two tries for the visitors.
“It was bitterly disappointing – we self destructed at times. We played well in patches but we can’t be kicking ball like that to the opposition and gifting them easy points. In the last 20-25 minutes, there wasn’t enough bite. Fair play to Ayr, they tried to play a bit of rugby and they got their rewards,” added Else.
And compounding his annoyance was the failure to apply lessons learned in recent British & Irish Cup matches.
“I thought we had learned in our game against Aberdeen. Every time we got into their 22, we came away with points. We got into Ayr’s 22 two or three times and didn’t get any points. That’s what I thought we had learned as a squad. That’s what myself and Malcy (McVie) had learned as coaches – when you are in their 22, you must be clinical and you must come away with points, but that’s easier said than done.
“Another thing you learn from the B&I is that good sides don’t make mistakes. We made individual errors and team errors. They all mounted up and basically Ayr didn’t make as many errors as us and were clinical when they got the opportunity. We need to be better, our skills need to better and our tactical play needs to be better.”
Accies reached the break 13-5 in arrears, with Nick Cox and Robbie Fergusson adding tries for Ayr to a Ross Curle penalty, while Nyle Godsmark touched down just before half time for the hosts. Callum Reid bagged a converted try early in the second period and at that stage Accies were in control.
However, Ayr weathered the storm and went on to claim further tries through Fergusson, Andy Dunlop and Grant Anderson to secure a win that has moved them to the top of the table, while for Accies, the focus is firmly on a trip to the Borders to face one of Else’s former teams.
Despite the disappointing outcome on the pitch, there was some positive news for the club after Edinburgh prop Lewis Niven became the first product of the BATs – the youth set up that was introduced nine years ago and serves the Broughton, Accies and Trinity clubs – to earn selection for the Barbarians when he was named in the line up for tomorrow’s match against the Combined Services at Plymouth.
Edinburgh Accies: Tries: Godsmark, Reid. Con: Bonner
Ayr: Tries: Cox, Fergusson (2), Dunlop, Anderson. Cons: Curle, Jericevich (2). Pen: Curle
Edinburgh Accies: J Sole, J Farndale, E Campbell, I Berthinussen, N Godsmark, R Bonner, A Black, D Morrison, M Liness, S Strudwick, R Seydak, J McCarthy, G Campbell, R Snape, C Reid. Subs used: A Allan, P Cringle, R Simpson, M Campbell, M Coupar.
Ayr: G Anderson, R Dalgleish, R Fergusson, D Kelbrick, K Gossman, R Curle, P Jericevich, D Mutamangira, F Scott, N Cox, B Cogley, S Sutherland, D Young, A Dunlop, P McCallum. Subs used: S Fenwick, G Hunter, C Brown M McConnell, D McLuskey.
Referee: J Matthew.