Currie coach Ben Cairns has urged his men to have greater belief after an agonising 16-13 home defeat by BT Premiership champions Heriot’s.
Currie went into the match on the back of three impressive wins and they took the match to their rivals for lengthy spells. However, they failed to convert pressure into points, spurned several kickable penalties and deviated from the game plan that had stood them in good stead over recent weeks.
“I am frustrated. I thought we had better chances to win the game than they did and we didn’t take them. I thought our execution deep in their half wasn’t good enough,” said Cairns, whose men took a narrow defeat bonus that keeps them on the brink of the play-off slots.
“I think the boys lack a bit of confidence. The way the game started didn’t help. We then started to move away from our structure, thinking about the way our last few games against Heriot’s have gone rather than thinking about what we have done really well in the last three weeks.”
While the result has left Cairns with the task of rebuilding the self belief in his squad ahead of Saturday’s clash with Boroughmuir, he knows that his players have the attributes to shrug off the latest setback.
“They (Heriot’s) put us under a bit more pressure than we have been under for the last three weeks and we lost our shape, lost our accuracy because of that pressure. We need to believe in ourselves a bit more than that. If we do our job right and we are all in it together, we will come out the other end,” he added.
His Heriot’s counterpart Phil Smith admitted that Currie had created enough chances to win the game, but he insisted that his players deserved the victory that keeps them in second spot in the table, albeit the absence of a four-try bonus means they now trail Ayr by ten points.
“They maybe had more game time in our half, certainly first half, but we were the team that looked threatening, I think,” said Smith, who, in contrast to Cairns, attributed the win to the way his players had made the right decisions. “We have had to work had at our game management because of the new group and the new people. We were under pressure at times.”
Smith pointed to the positive impact on morale of posting the victory in such a tight encounte. “We have had a couple of bad games where we have lost and that was a good one to win.”
The hosts started with intent but fell behind to an early try by John Semple and, although they had the bulk of the possession, their decision to turn down kicks at goal meant they still trailed in injury time at the break when teenage Edinburgh pro Blair Kinghorn capped a tidy performance when he darted through the Heriot’s defence to square matters.
Semple landed a penalty shortly after the restart to give Currie the lead but that advantage was overturned when Russell Nimmo touched down for Heriots.
Another spell of Currie pressure eventually yielded a try for Luke Crosbie but that was scant reward for the amount of possession they had enjoyed.
And the visitors, having displayed tenacity in defence, showed why they are champions, earning penalties on each of their next two visits to Currie territory. Graham Wilson calmly landed both kicks to secure the win and edge his side closer to securing a play-off berth.
Currie: Tries – Kinghorn, Crosbie. Pen – Semple.
Heriot’s: Tries – Semple, Nimmo. Pens – Wilson (2).
Currie: B Kinghorn, R Smith, F Efthymiuo, R Nelson, H Elms, J Semple, R Snedden, J Cox, M Goodwin, A Hamilton, L Crosbie, A Heather, S Ainslie, T Brooke, R Weston. Subs used: G Carson, S Ruwers, M Vernel.
Heriot’s: J Semple, C Simpson, M Learmonth, C Ferguson, J Rae, G McNeish, G Wilson, M McCallum, M Liness, S Cessford, R Nimmo, R Van Heerden, J Turley, J Ritchie, S Dewar. Subs used: M Boab, I Wilson, L Steele.
Referee: G Ormiston.