Rugby: Cairns urges rampant Currie to aim high in B&I cup ties

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Currie skipper Mark Cairns is urging his colleagues to use Saturday’s comprehensive 47-3 RBS Premiership win over Edinburgh Accies at Raeburn Place as a springboard to British & Irish Cup success.

With league aspirations set aside until the turn of the year, the focus now switches to the cross-border competition. Looking ahead to Sunday’s trip to face Leeds Carnegie in their opening fixture, Cairns said: “We are playing against real proven teams. Last year was a bit of a springboard for us. We had to raise our level, we were put under pressure. This win is a real confidence booster going into the B&I matches.”

And, although they performed well last season, Currie failed to record a victory, something Cairns wants to rectify.

“We never got a win last year. We were close but this time we don’t want to be the gallant losers. We want to play to our potential and I think that if we can do that, we are capable of winning. Our aim is to play our best and I’m sure if we do, we will get a win.”

Based on Saturday’s performance, Currie, who will be bolstered by the availability of several professional players, look ready for the challenge against the Yorkshire outfit who have already been in B&I action, recording a win and a defeat in their matches to date.

Alan Whittingham stood out with a three-try contribution against Accies. It was the winger who opened the scoring in 11 minutes with the first of his hat- trick. Jamie Forbes converted before slotting a penalty to take the visitors’ tally into double figures.

Ruaridh Bonner struck a penalty for the hosts before Forbes hit back in kind then added both conversions after Whittingham raced in for a second time and James Johnstone also sprinted over to stop the scoreboard at 30-3 as the teams changed ends. To the credit of Accies, a solid defensive effort kept Currie at bay and the bonus point try did not arrive until eight minutes from full time – Simon Marcell crashing over. And, with the job done, the visitors turned on the style, finishing in expansive fashion to chalk up additional scores by Whittingham and Dougie Fife. The win leaves Currie fourth in the league table as the title race goes into its mid-season shutdown.

Cairns was delighted with the way his side had bounced back from the disappointing loss at home to Stirling County and now hopes the memory of the pain that accompanied the defeat will serve as a catalyst when the battle for the silverware resumes in the new year.

“I think we had forgotten what it takes to win a match. Even though we won this match comfortably in the end, it was never comfortable during it. We always had to have a high work rate, or they were going to get back in the game. We just have to remember that. We need to remember how we felt when we lost.” Accies coach Simon Cross insisted that he could take heart from several aspects of the game, pointing to the fact that once again a solid defensive effort had been undone by carelessness. Coming on the back of a physical clash with Melrose the previous week, Saturday’s encounter meant that Accies had completed their pre-split schedule with two tough tests.

“That’s the way I wanted to go into Premier B,” said Cross, who admitted that his players need to rediscover the winning habit before the battle for the two available places in next season’s ten-team top flight gets underway in January.

Scorers: Edinburgh Accies: Pen: R Bonner. Currie: Tries: Whittingham (3), Johnstone, Marcell, Fife. Cons: Forbes (4). Pens: Forbes (3).

Edinburgh Accies: J Sole, J Farndale, P Suiter, I Berthinussen, J Knight, R Bonner, M Campbell, D Morrison, M Liness, K Blyth, G Campbell, T Drennan, D Teague, A Lamb, T Stuart. Subs Used: C Murray, S Jeffers, A Graham, J Taggart, E Bonner.

Currie: J Forbes, J Johnstone, D Fife, A MacMahon, A Whittingham, A Binikos, J Bruton, J Cox, F Scott, R Merrilees, S Marcell, G Temple, M Cairns, M Entwhistle, R Weston. Subs Used: M Erskine, A Adam, M Peacock, R Neill.