Rugby: Another home humbling has Currie back in a hole

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Currie coach Ally Donaldson vowed his team would learn from a 17-37 home defeat by Stirling County that signalled a new low in the club’s recent fortunes.

Throughout the previous two seasons Currie had proved unbeatable in the Premiership on their own patch but a combination of missed tackles, poor game management and an exceedingly hungry and astute opposition meant they have now suffered two reversals in front of the Malleny Park faithful in six starts.

Admitting that the better side had won, Donaldson said: “We didn’t tackle very well. They are a good team. We let them get in the game and they gained confidence from that.

“We can’t argue with the scoreline. We have eight guys injured but that is no excuse.”

The significance of what Stirling achieved on the back of overcoming champions Melrose a week earlier was not lost on their coach, Eddie Pollock, who said: “That was outstanding. To come to Malleny Park and score six tries and all of them crackers . . . Some of the support play was fantastic and we held the ball through multiple phases for the last of our tries. We have really grown up as a team.”

If there was any consolation for Currie, it lay in the fact that when the league splits after next week the top eight looks to be extremely competitive with every team capable of beating the other.

Could that be sufficient to allow Currie back into the title race provided they quickly rediscover form?

“We’ve made life difficult. After digging ourselves out of a hole [when the opening three games were lost] we find ourselves slipping back into it,” added Donaldson.

For their part Currie seemed to lack any urgency with notable exceptions being prop John Cox and centre Andy McMahon and, as confirmed by coach Pollock, the visitors had done their homework on the free-scoring wingers Barry Mansfield and David Smith who, one lightning burst from the former apart, were never allowed possession in space.

Overall, though, Currie contributed to their downfall by kicking penalties out on the full and there was even a pass to an imaginary winger which trundled aimlessly into touch.

Currie hadn’t conceded more than two tries in a match since September 10 but their defence had been punctured three times in the opening 26 minutes – by Alex Moffat, Ross Aitken and Graham Lindsay with Stuart Edwards notching the bonus point before the interval which Stirling reached 20-12 ahead.

Andy McMahon and Mike Entwhistle had crossed for Currie and, on the restart, Malcolm Peacock notched their third try.

We waited on the revival based on harnessing the strong wind but Stirling comfortably booked a place in the top eight with further tries from Moffat and Sean Kennedy.

The top eight will be: two teams from Edinburgh (Currie and Boroughmuir) and Borders (Gala and Melrose), as well as one apiece from Central (Stirling), West (Ayr), Tayside (Dundee) and North (Aberdeen)

Scorers:

Currie: Tries: McMahon, Entwhistle, Peacock. Conversion: Forbes.

Stirling County: Tries: Moffat (2), Aitken, Lindsay, Edwards, Kennedy. Conversions: Archibald (2). Penalty: Archibald.

Currie: J Forbes, B Mansfield, D Fife, A McMahon, D Smith, A Binikos, C Leck, J Cox, F Scott, R Merrilees, A Adam, G Temple, S Marcell, M Cairns (captain), M Entwhistle. Subs: W Elmslie, N Scobie, A Johnston, M Peacock, A Whittingham.

Stirling County: B Addison, G Lindsay, D Gilmour, B Archibald, R Aitken, S Edwards, S Kennedy, M McDonald, A Moffat (captain), G Mountford, C Deacons, R McAlpine, T Clarke, S Swindall, R Bioswell. Subs: J Graham, C Hutton, R Leishman, S Robertson, M Doneghan.

Referee: D Changleng.