Rugby: Cox urges Currie to keep back door shut

John Cox will line up for Currie at home to Gala tomorrow
John Cox will line up for Currie at home to Gala tomorrow
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Stalwart prop John Cox has moved to keep Currie feet on the ground ahead of a crucial home clash with Gala in the Scottish rugby premiership tomorrow.

While the Malleny Park club have racked up a remarkable 123 points in winning their last three games, clubs’ internationalist Cox also notes: “We have allowed the opposition to go away with a bonus point for scoring four tries against us on each occasion.

“That has to be set against the last time we won the league and not a single try bonus was 
conceded in the entire season.”

However, he adds: “It isn’t all down to poor defence by us, as in ten years of premiership rugby this is one of the more competitive campaigns I’ve experienced.

“Teams are capable now of breaking opponents down in a way that was beyond them a year or two ago.

“There is still plenty for us to keep working on though. We with an incentive against Gala because we need to atone for losing out to them through a last minute penalty when they were last at Malleny Park.”

Currie now lie third to Gala’s second in the table and their team has Ally Hamilton back in the starting line-up which means, along with Cox, there are two club caps at prop.

“Currie are also introducing a good young prop in Fraser Watts this season and he has a great future but I feel really comfortable operating alongside Ally,” said Cox.

“He was out for much of last season through injury, but in coming back he continues to do a lot of brave stuff such as putting his head in dangerous places at rucks and knocking men back in tackles which leaves me to do the ball carrying.”

Cox, a consultant with MAS properties, added: “I feel Ally and I are a good combination of props.”

While Currie include apprentice professionals Fergus Scott and Jonny Gray on the bench for the first time, Gala give a debut to winger Gerald Sibanda, a Zimbabwean sevens cap.

At Raeburn Place, a cock-a-hoop Edinburgh Accies await Dundee High ready to 
defend the Bill McLaren Shield they took from Heriot’s with a 
thrilling comeback summed up this week by their former player Dave Denton, who looked on.

Scotland cap Denton said: “Accies had been playing 
unbelievably well but hadn’t been converting pressure into points.

“I know only too well how that feels but hopefully that has changed now.

“Accies in the first half forced play too much. They were trying to off-load every ball, which you can’t do.

“You can’t do something magical on every play, as I’ve learned with Edinburgh. You have to earn the hard yards and earn the right to go wide.

“I thought Lewis Niven did well in the second half, carrying a lot of ball to get Accies on the front foot, and Alex Allan, too.

“That’s what you need to win rugby games. You can’t just be flinging the ball about.”

Tomorrow Kenny Blyth replaces Niven, who is with Edinburgh, while Hamish Watson and Niall Godsmark also step up.

Accies coach Simon Cross reflected on last weeks’ 28-26 win, saying: “It was a case of ridiculous to sublime in the ultimate game of two halves.”

Dundee delay a final selection due to front-row injuries, with coach Ian Rankin explaining: “In last week’s game Neil Dymock dislocated a shoulder and Alan Brown damaged his knee to undergo treatment alongside hooker Darel Russel and prop Gav Richardson.”

Heriot’s bid to bounce back from surrendering that 26-6 half-time lead at Ayr.

In a shaken-up pack, Struan Cessford moves from prop to second row where CJ Osazuwa is unavailable. Drafted in are John-Paul Ward and Russell Nimmo, with the backs unchanged.

Ayr include Zimbabwean cap Shingai Mpofu on the bench. The only way is up for basement side Boroughmuir when they entertain Stirling County and the return of prop Robin Hislop from Edinburgh duty is timely as Kian Coertze is unavailable.

Jordan Webster takes over on the wing for the unavailable Sep Visser and a further change sees Ally Macleod come in at flanker for injured skipper Andy Rose. In the national league Stewart’s Melville, fresh from posting their opening win, against Kelso, are able to field an unchanged team for the first time this season when they visit Hamilton.

The challenge for second-place Watsonians, at home to third-place Selkirk, is a fifth straight win and the only changes see Tom Wright return at hooker while former 
Murrayfield Wanderers prop Nick Barron comes on to the bench for the first time this term.

In Championship Group B, Musselburgh take their unbeaten record to fourth-place Hawick YM while Murrayfield Wanderers head for Kirkcaldy and Lasswade await bottom side Morgan. Haddington are at Perthshire.