Rugby: Basement battle is a must-win for Muir

Accies' Ruairidh Young is stopped in his tracks.
Accies' Ruairidh Young is stopped in his tracks.
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Boroughmuir assistant coach David Officer conceded the elusive win that could kick-start the season for the Meggetland men must come on Saturday in the RBS Premiership basement battle at home to Dundee High.

As has been the case on many occasions in this campaign, ’Muir suffered defeat in a match they could have won when they succumbed 17-12 to Edinburgh Accies in their RBS Edinburgh Regional Cup tie at Raeburn Place.

However, despite the outcome, ’Muir would surely take heart from a performance that almost produced their first victory since September. Indeed, had a try been awarded on either of the two occasions a ’Muir player was held up over the line, or if skipper Andy Rose had not stuck a toe on the touchline as he squeezed over in the corner, the visitors might have emerged on the right side of the result. Yet, on such narrow margins are games won and lost, and Officer is hoping that patience and a focus on doing the basics well will bear fruit this weekend.

“Our game against Dundee is a must win. It doesn’t matter how we do it, we just have to win. There’s a lot of good play and plenty of endeavour but it’s as if the guys are always looking over their shoulder. We need a bit of composure but we know we will get there.”

And, pointing to the need to adopt a simple game plan, Officer said: “One of our biggest 
failings has been coughing up possession too quickly and too easily, but we’ve made a conscious effort over the last few weeks to try and keep hold of the ball, do nothing flash, try and get through the phases and take it from there.

“We got a couple of tries on the back of a bit of patience but one loose kick and a couple of defensive errors cost us tries,” he added, referring to Saturday’s hugely entertaining encounter played at a high 

In the Accies camp, Officer’s counterpart Jonny Else said of the outcome: “We are happy with that, especially some of the defensive work which was outstanding. We’ve been working hard on our defence over the last couple of weeks.”

Particularly satisfying for Else was the opportunity to use the match to introduce more young talent to the side – 17-year-old winger Rory Watt looking comfortable after his introduction in the second half.

Else is happy with the Regional Cup structure which will see the winner of the Edinburgh round robin competition enter the national tournament at the quarter-final stage alongside the other three regional winners and the four British & Irish Cup representatives.

“We want to have a good run in the cup. I like the format. It’s good to have games all the way through. We were at Murrayfield all those years ago (2007) and it was a great experience.”

It took Accies 25 minutes to open their account through a try by impressive flanker Hamish Watson and he was joined on the score sheet by Dan Teague to give Accies a 10-0 interval lead. However, a penalty try after an offence at a 
close-range scrum was converted by Ally Warnock to haul the visitors back into the match.

Matt Coupar then darted in for a fine score, which was converted by Ruaridh Bonner to hand Accies the initiative entering the final quarter and a gritty defensive effort by the hosts kept ’Muir out until two minutes from full time when Ali MacLeod dotted down to secure a narrow-defeat bonus point.

Elsewhere, a run of poor results and the unavailability of several key men through injury suggested Lasswade were facing a tall order on their trip to meet Heriot’s at Goldenacre. And it proved to be a baptism of fire for the players drafted in to the starting line up as a host side with an eye on progressing to the next phase of the competition rattled up a 109-0 score line, Max Learmonth leading the try rout with five touchdowns.

Currie eased to a 45-7 win at Musselburgh with Mike Entwhistle touching down twice, while Johnny Gray, Simeon James, Jamie Forbes, Jack Broadley and Ross Weston had one score apiece and James Doig claimed a late consolation try for Musselburgh.

Meanwhile, Murrayfield Wanderers followed up narrow defeats in each of their previous two ties with another close call, this time going down 20-17 at Biggar.

Watsonians had opened the weekend’s proceedings with a 28-7 win over a stuffy Haddington side at Myreside on Friday. Tries by Jamie Niven and Andrew Joseph plus six penalties from Brian Walls extended ’Sonians winning run in all competitions to 13 matches, while Nick Bell claimed the visitors’ points with a self-converted try.