World Cup heartache fires up Heriot’s Eagle

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A RUGBY player who just missed out on selection for the USA squad for the Rugby World Cup has a big role to play at Heriot’s this season, according to skipper Graham Wilson.

On Saturday the Goldenacre men defeated Stirling County 29-13 at Bridgehaugh to give them their second win from two matches in RBS Premier One.

In that game winger Jordy Kohn led the way with two tries and although he is disappointed not to have made the Eagles squad for the event in New Zealand he has started the domestic season in top form.

After a handful of games last season for the Heriot’s first team Kohn – who, due to family ties, has played for both USA and Canada at age-grade level – was called into an extended USA training squad by head coach Eddie O’Sullivan. He missed out on the final 30, but his club captain Wilson said: “For Jordy to have got into the USA training squad it shows what talent he has and he has come back after the summer looking fitter and stronger.

“Hopefully he can take confidence from the two tries he scored at Stirling and build on that for the rest of the season.”

And as well as Kohn, scrum-half Wilson has been pleased with the way a number of the team’s other players have hit the ground running.

“It was quite good that we did not have that many changes on the playing side of things over the summer because over the years at Heriot’s there seems to have usually been quite a turnover of players each year.

“Now we are quite a settled bunch who have mostly been here for a few seasons and players who have been in the team a while are now taking more leadership on the pitch.”

In terms of the forwards the likes of Alan Dymock, Matt Reid and Jason Hill are consistent performers and they have been crucial in the first two weeks.

Hill is still just 21 although the way he is currently playing you would think he was a lot older and he is the perfect example of what Wilson is talking about.

Behind the scrum, Wilson himself is a consistent performer, while there is good competition for the stand-off slot. Michael Goldie started on the opening day against Hawick with Cameron Ferguson slotting in there at Stirling and Scotland Sevens youngster Sam Hidalgo-Clyne will also come into the reckoning.

Wilson added: “The likes of [winger] Andrew Scott and [centre] Callum Mark have also stepped up well to the firsts after good seasons for the seconds last year and it is good to see competition for places.”

Despite the good start Wilson knows his side have some work to do if they want to compete for the title. They are taking things one game at a time at the moment – Edinburgh Accies visit Goldenacre this Saturday – and he is enjoying working under the new coaching team of Mark Appleson and Graham Marshall. “Mark was with us last season, but has really just kicked on from there and the backs enjoy learning from him and Graham has got the forwards going really well.”

Being in the top eight come the split is the initial target, followed by winning a British & Irish Cup spot. “Our aims for the season currently are to make sure we are in the top eight come the split.”