Rugby: Currie president makes a call for SRU support

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The first sign of domestic fall-out from Scotland’s unprecedented World Cup exit before the knockout rounds has come in the form of a programme editorial for Currie’s eventual 38-6 home Premiership win over Heriot’s that was bathed more in perspiration than inspiration.

In a message linking the performance elements of the club game to events on the international stage, Currie president John Muir referred to what had been due to unfold in Auckland a few hours earlier with Scotland meeting England, saying: “By the time you have read this Scotland will know their fate in the 2011 World Cup and hopefully will have qualified for the quarter-final.

“It is a sad reflection on our great sport that we have struggled to perform in our first three games.

“When will the penny drop with Murrayfield that the quicker they offload the two pro teams and start putting money into the grass roots of the game to grow the pyramid wider at the bottom, the better?”

The argument that Edinburgh and Glasgow need to be franchised or even that the policy of cascading any success downwards be abandoned in favour of trying to build from the bottom upwards is not new.

But nobody, surely, could claim it was not timely on the day that Scotland bowed out of the global tournament, uniquely early, despite significant investment, certainly in comparison to the club scene where one renowned Edinburgh outfit this week could not fulfil third and fourth-team fixtures due to a “lack of players.”

Patently, if Mr Muir has his way, increased emphasis would be placed on building from the bottom up once again with Currie very much anticipating to be in the forefront of re-shaped policy.

Later in his presidential message, a few lines after congratulating organisers of a Duck Race held to help keep the club afloat, Mr Muir hinted that under-achievement would not be tolerated at Malleny Park in referring to how three initial losses were followed by a brace of wins.

“The rugby played over the last two weeks is what we at Currie expect . . . and it was badly required.”

If Currie failed to hit the heights in this encounter, they did manage a four-try bonus point courtesy of a late touchdown from Barrie Mansfield which eased tensions in the race to make up lost ground for a team who have climbed one place to sixth following a third straight success by a margin of more than 30 points.

This was touched upon by coach Ally Donaldson, who noted his team were still two tries short of the bonus with five minutes remaining.

“If we had got our third try a bit earlier might have relaxed a bit,” said Donaldson while taking satisfaction from not seeing his team’s line pierced.

“It was good to play short of the best of our abilities and still come away with a bonus point.

“We didn’t really look like conceding a try. Our defence was pretty comfortable.”

For Heriot’s, this was a fourth straight defeat to leave them third bottom immediately ahead of successive games against former champions Ayr and Hawks. However they caused the home team problems.

But coach Graham Marshall acknowledged that Currie’s superiority at the breakdown helped yield four first-half penalties creating a 6-19 interval deficit from which Heriot’s never recovered.

“We had a shocking first half - really, really poor,” said the ex-Scotland internationalist No. 8, adding: “We showed a wee bit of character in the second half but just got blown away at contact.

“Their defence was very physical and their attack ran really, really hard and our guys are not quite at that physicality and that was the key.

“There’s a lot of effort going on but it is a bounce of the ball thing, we never get them, but it will turn around.”

To be fair to Heriot’s, on a day when Andy Binikos, Mike Entwhistle, Malcolm Peacock and Barrie Mansfield, had the home tries, injuries occurred with unfortunate regularity.

Among those unable to stay the course for Heriot’s in a match watched by his Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley was Test flanker Alan MacDonald whose comeback from injury ended with what appeared to be ankle damage midway through the second half.

Scorers: Currie: Tries: Binikos, Entwhistle, Peacock, Mansfield. Conversions: Forbes (3) Penalties: Forbes (4). Heriot’s: Pens: Wilson (2).

Currie: J Forbes, B Mansfield, D Fife, A McMahon, D Smith, A Binikos, R Snedden, J Cox, F Scott, C Phillips, A Best, G Temple, S Burton, T R Weston, M Entwhistle. Subs: B Elmslie, R Merrilees, S Marcell, M Peacock, A Whittingham.

Heriot’s: C Goudie, A Scott, M Nimmo, J Kohn, M Learmonth, C Ferguson, G Wilson, A Dymock, K Bryce, J-P Ward, R Martin, CJ Osazuwa, M Reid, J Hill, A MacDonald. Subs: S Mustard, S Cessford, R Tran, C Mark, R Cessford

Referee: C Samson (SRU).