Chieftans show they can mix things up with win at Boroughmuir

Mike Vernel scores Currie's first try. Picture: Neil Hanna
Mike Vernel scores Currie's first try. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Currie Chieftains coach Ben Cairns wants his men to learn lessons from Saturday’s BT Premiership win over Boroughmuir at Meggetland as he prepares his side for a run of matches against the other three clubs that featured in last year’s championship play-offs.

The Chieftains failed to reproduce the high-paced rugby that had been a feature of their opening two victories but found a new way to win.

“In a lot of ways it’s good that we came through the challenge. If you look at the wet conditions, slippery ball. All our plaudits so far have been about playing with width and tempo,” said Cairns. “It’s much harder obviously when it’s a slippy ball. There’s certainly big parts we need to improve like our game management when the weather doesn’t allow us to play.

“The big part for us now is to learn from it. When you play the same brand of rugby in the same weather for the first two weeks you are probably not learning as much.”

And of the upcoming fixtures, he added: “It’s a big run. We have to treat it as one game at a time. I know that is a big cliché but it is so true – if you take your eye off the ball for one minute then it doesn’t matter who you are playing, they will beat you.”

The Chieftains were given a stern test by a Muir side that displayed ample amounts of courage to battle back from a deficit of 13-0 at half-time to lead with ten minutes remaining. However, as they had done in their opening loss to Ayr, the hosts failed to see out the game. That was a source of frustration for coach Peter Wright.

“We are really disappointed. I thought at 15-13, we were in the ascendancy. We worked really hard in the second half to get into the game by box kicking, keeping a hold of the ball and putting pressure on at the set piece,” said Wright. “And it all worked – we got a couple of tries and got ourselves in the lead. Then when we went in the lead we just decided to play a completely different game. We kicked the ball away and we gave away possession, sometimes to really good defence, sometimes to really naïve mistakes.”

A try by Mike Vernel was converted by Jamie Forbes who was also on target with two penalties, to hand the visitors the lead at half-time. Chris Laidlaw kicked a penalty and converted a try by Lewis Carmichael before creating a score for Greig Cannie as Muir edged ahead.

But the Chieftains regained their lead with a penalty by Forbes and he added the conversion after Vince Wright bagged the match winning try with five minutes to play.

Also in the Capital, Watsonians secured their first points of the campaign with a 38-26 win over Stirling County at Myreside. Jamie Farndale topped and tailed the Sonians try scoring. His first, together with touchdowns from James Miller and Craig Borthwick, all converted by Andrew Chalmers, left Sonians 21-14 ahead at half time. And, although the visitors squared matters, further touchdowns by Rory Hutton and a second for Farndale sealed the win, with Chalmers booting both conversions and a penalty.

There was also an upturn in fortunes for Heriot’s who clicked into gear to take all five league points from a tense 29-26 success against previously unbeaten Glasgow Hawks at Scotstoun. Skipper Rory Carmichael touched down for the first of Heriot’s four tries and Ross Jones converted and then added a penalty. Michael Liness claimed a five-pointer as Heriot’s reached the break 26-15 adrift. Further scores by Adam Sinclair and Craig Robertson, both converted by Jones, turned the game in favour of Heriot’s. And, in contrast to the previous two weeks, Phil Smith’s men saw out a tight game to break their duck for the season.