Rugby: Plenty to play for, insists Currie captain

Currie's Loma Kivalu is tackled by Tony McGuiness.
Currie's Loma Kivalu is tackled by Tony McGuiness.
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Currie skipper Mark Cairns insists the Malleny Park men can still achieve success this season, despite falling short in their twin pursuit of league and cup honours.

The return of a host of front line players who missed the previous week’s cup defeat against Heriot’s through injury added steel to a Currie side that had lost each of their three previous matches. And, with two games left in the campaign, Cairns knows that Ally Donaldson’s side must now repeat the winning form they displayed in Saturday’s 34-21 RBS Premier A win over Aberdeen Grammar.

“The good thing about the league is that you have the British & Irish Cup to go for,” said Cairns. “So, even although we are not going to win the league this year and we are out of the cup, we still have things to play for which is great. Obviously we have to get a win in our next game against Ayr at home and then, depending on how results go, we will have to go to Dundee and get another one.”

And he is happy that the five-point haul means that Currie remain on track to achieve the key objective, adding: “Our realistic goal for the season was to get into the British & Irish Cup. Anything else would have been a bonus. Obviously, you always want to win the league but [B&I] cup qualification was the main one. That’s still in our hands.”

There was evidence of dented confidence in an opening quarter in which Currie dominated, yet had only a penalty from Jamie Forbes to show for their efforts against an Aberdeen side that sought to play enterprising rugby.

The first of Currie’s five tries came from winger Alan Whittingham. The 20-year-old again caught the eye with a series of powerful runs that yielded two touchdowns and an assist. Forbes converted but struck the post with his next effort after Loma Kivalu had dotted down as Currie responded to a five pointer by Murray Douglas for the visitors. And it was Aberdeen who had the final word in the first half when Alex Hagart booted a penalty to stop the scoreboard at 15-8 as the teams changed ends.

Within seconds of the restart, Whittingham turned provider to free Dougie Fife for the third Currie try and, although Douglas displayed an impressive turn of pace to race in for his second score – this time converted by Hagart – the hosts secured the four try bonus point when their pack drove over and Gary Temple was credited with applying the final touch.

Forbes added the extra two points and that should have been the game won. However, Aberdeen refused to concede defeat, and Hagart clawed back six points with a drop goal and a penalty to leave the deficit at only six points entering the final five minutes. The visitors sensed that the match was still there to be won but their hopes were finally quelled when Whittingham darted over for a second time. And Forbes completed the job when he stroked over the conversion.

Now, having rediscovered the winning feeling, Cairns is urging his team mates to become more ruthless in their remaining fixtures, stating: “We just have to make sure that when we do get ahead of a team we keep at it and widen the gap. You want to put away teams as early as possible.”

Scorers

Currie: Tries – Whittingham (2), Kivalu, Fife, Temple. Cons – Forbes (3). Pen – Forbes

Aberdeen Grammar: Tries – Douglas (2). Con – Hagart. Pens – Hagart (2). Drop Goal – Hagart.

Currie: D Smith, B Mansfield, D Fife, A MacMahon, A Whittingham, J Forbes, J Bruton, J Cox, F Gillies, L Kivalu, S Marcell, G Temple, M Cairns, M Entwhistle, R Weston. Subs Used: M Erskine, S Burton, M Peacock.

Aberdeen Grammar: S Aitken, E Oag, W Wardlaw, F Lyle, C Anderson, A Hagart, R Lawson, N Fraser, M Dixon, R Allen, S Smith, M Douglas, R Barrie, T McGuinness, G Ryan. Subs Used: S Bingham, E Nimmons, G Walker, M Ward.

Referee: D Changleng.