Club rugby: Derek O’Riordan wants Edinburgh Accies to cast off the gallant loser tag

Edinburgh Accies coach Derek O'Riordan, right
Edinburgh Accies coach Derek O'Riordan, right
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Edinburgh Accies coach Derek O’Riordan is looking for his men to finally make a breakthrough when they face Currie Chieftains at Raeburn Place tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) as the Tennent’s Premiership reaches its halfway point.

Accies sit bottom of the table with no wins, although they have shown improved form over recent weeks. O’Riordan now wants his men to cast off the gallant loser tag. He has been encouraged by the positive mood around the club, with the second and third teams unbeaten so far this season and healthy numbers turning out at training. But he admits that the club overall would enjoy a major lift if the top side could finally chalk up a win.

“Life is tough on a match day at the minute, but we are edging closer to getting our just rewards,” he said while acknowledging that tomorrow’s encounter promises to be another tough outing against opponents who play some of the league’s most entertaining rugby – and apparently aiming a dig at the Murrayfield chiefs who have written off grassroots rugby as not fit for purpose.

“Currie will come with a style, energy and tempo that has proved that clubs can produce a product worth watching. We have worked hard this week to ensure the game is entertaining both sides of the ball. If we continue to close the gap, get our detail right and work hard for each other then we will get all that we deserve.”

Chieftains coach Ben Cairns is looking for his men to deliver an instant response to the agonising single-point defeat against Melrose, a result that means they can ill afford another slip up in their pursuit of a home play-off berth. “Last weekend’s loss was a difficult one to take having chucked so much into what was such a great contest. However, with the games coming thick and fast the boys have dusted themselves down and are ready to do what it takes to bounce back this weekend,” said Cairns, who hands a debut to teenage full-back James McCaig in a reshuffled back line.

Also in the Capital, Heriot’s entertain Hawick, looking to replicate their second-half showing of last weekend when they overturned a 24-3 interval deficit to post a bonus-point victory at Boroughmuir.

Coach Phil Smith is conscious of the fact that Hawick’s form is on an upward trajectory and wants his players to shrug off the habit of leaving it late before hitting their stride.

“The message this week at training has been very simple, start as you finished last weekend,” said Smith, who has made some injury-enforced changes that see the inclusion on the bench of Todd Tukalo, son of 1990 Grand Slam hero, Iwan. “We have got into a habit of starting slowly and while it can make for exciting second halves, it is doing nothing for my already receding hair line.”

Heriot’s occupy fourth place and have a three-point cushion over Watsonians, who face the day’s toughest assignment when they seek to halt an Ayr side that has swatted off the challenge of all comers to sit eight points clear at the top of the table.

Sonians coach Steve Lawrie concedes that his players have not yet performed well against teams in the top half of the table and he wants them to rectify that situation at Millbrae tomorrow. “Ayr have demonstrated their quality throughout the first half of the season and we will need to raise our levels again in order to compete effectively,” he admitted.

Sonians lock Jamie Hodgson has been called up by Edinburgh although the professional outfit has released winger Damien Hoyland.

Meanwhile, Boroughmuir travel to meet Melrose with a few harsh words from coach Peter Wright ringing in their ears after losing to Heriot’s in a match they looked set to win after a dominant first period.