Lessons to be learned from Accies’ B&I Cup defeat

Cutting Edge: Accies' Alex Black tries to get to grips with Pontypridd's Tom Williams. Picture: Greg Macvean
Cutting Edge: Accies' Alex Black tries to get to grips with Pontypridd's Tom Williams. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Edinburgh Accies centre Iain Berthinussen will be calling for more composure in the side when they travel to face London Scottish in the next round of British & Irish Cup matches this weekend, looking to develop a style that will help when they return to domestic action.

He produced a typically committed effort in the midfield as Accies battled gamely before going down 53-13 against an impressive Pontypridd enjoying the backing of a vociferous travelling support that added colour and noise to the occasion. However, while the score line may suggest that the Welsh outfit dominated throughout the 80 minutes, their cause was aided by a failure by the hosts to capitalise on their spells in the ascendancy.

And Berthinussen pointed to the manner in which Pontypridd snapped up chances as the difference between the sides. “It probably wasn’t as physical as we thought it was going to be but they were just a lot more clinical than we were,” he said. “We knocked on four or five times in their 22 whereas every time they were in our 22, they just took points.”

And he believes that lessons taken from the four nations competition will be invaluable as Accies step up their campaign in the RBS Premiership, adding: “It was a good experience for the boys and we talked afterwards about a lot of things we changed through the week that worked for us so looking forward to the league, our bread and butter, it’s good to get a break for two weeks and work on some stuff without any pressure and expectation.”

The hosts showed in lengthy spells that they could compete, but endured a dreadful start with the visitors bagging two tries inside the opening three minutes – Mathew Nuthall and Simon Humberstone each claiming a score.

Alex Blair opened Accies’ account with a penalty then Phil Cringle was on hand to claim a try that cut the deficit to four points and saw the momentum swing in favour of the home side. However, lack of composure cost them and Ponty survived then added a penalty by Humberstone and tries for Craig Locke and Jake Thomas to reach the break 27-8 ahead.

Gavin Dacey won a chip and chase to mark his 200th appearance for Ponty with try number five and, although Blair cancelled that out when he dotted down, the visitors finished strongly and crossed three more times through Nuthall, Thomas and Lloyd Williams to add gloss to the final scoreline.

Ponty coach Dale McIntosh was clearly delighted with the start his side – semi-finalists in the competition two seasons ago – had made to their campaign. But he acknowledged that the result flattered his men, who are semi professionals operating at the top end of the Principality Premiership.

“That’s not a 50-point team.Edinburgh looked sharp at times. They fell off a couple of tackles and that led to the accumulation of the points but you could see they are a class act and are probably better than the score suggests,” said the former Scotland A flanker who went on to be capped for Wales.

In the home camp, assistant coach Malcy McVie was in accord with the view of McIntosh. “I don’t think there was 40 points between us.”And of the opening minutes, which set the tone for the afternoon, he added, “You really can’t afford to be 12 -0 down in three minutes – that’s a brutal way to start. It’s very easy at that point for the heads to go down so in light of that I thought they competed pretty well.”

And McVie insists that there are lessons to be learned from the experience, and he is looking forward to this weekend’s trip , saying: “They were a little bit bigger, a little bit quicker and I think they would beat most teams in the Scottish Premiership. We knew it would be a step up and it was.

“London Scottish will be a step up again but there is no reason why we can’t go down there and compete and try to give them a shock, particularly if the boys take the learnings from this one.”

Scorers:

Edinburgh Accies: Tries – Cringle, Blair. Pen – Blair.

Pontypridd: Tries – Nuthall (2), Thomas (2), Humberstone, Locke, Dacey, Williams. Cons – Humberstone (3), Flannigan (2). Pen – Humberstone.

Edinburgh Accies: J Sole, N Godsmark, E Campbell, I Berthinussen, S Pecqueur, A Blair, A Black, A Allan, M Liness, P Cringle, G Campbell, J McCarthy, R Snape, H Watson, C Reid. Subs Used: D Morrison, S Strudwick, F Rawlinson, T Stuart, M Campbell, R Bonner, L Jones

Pontypridd: G Walsh, O Jenkins, G Dacey, D Lockyer, M Nuthall, S Humberstone, T Williams, J Howe, R Williams, K Jenkins, C Locke, C Dicomidis, J Thomas, T Young, D Godfrey. Subs Used: L Williams, D Flannigan, A Summerhill, H Dowden, L Crocker, J Sieniawski, C Phillips

Referee: S Lee (RFU)