Flanker Andy Rose today insisted Boroughmuir are on course for a record fourth Scottish rugby cup triumph after a 22-15 victory over Heriot’s in the Edinburgh Regional final at Meggetland.
Only Glasgow Hawks can match Boroughmuir’s achievement of three previous triumphs in the competition and they are already out.
With a semi-final at Ayr on March 31 now standing between Boroughmuir and another Murrayfield appearance, Rose, none the worse for playing 25 minutes from off the bench for the Scottish clubs’ international team in Ireland the previous evening, was bullish about silverware prospects.
“There is a buzz about Boroughmuir again after a couple of good wins recently and we can definitely take our cup bid the whole way,” said Rose whose appearance from off the bench was hastened by a first half finger injury to Neil Rodger. He added: “In turning things around there were a few games early in the season where we just went down by a few points; what we have learned is how to close tight games out while bringing through good young forwards such as Will Kay and Alex Henderson who both played their part in this win.”
For Heriot’s coach Graham Marshall there was some consolation in the continued progress of tight head prop Struan Cessford in a match where the teams shared the try count at three apiece.
With one eye on a two match run-in to Premier group B which could determine whether Heriot’s maintain their proud tradition as the only club never to have been out of the top flight since organised leagues began in 1973, Marshall said: “While disappointed we didn’t win against a Boroughmuir team who maybe had just a bit too much for us out wide where Sep Visser is quite threatening we still take a lot forward into the next two weekends which will make or break our season.
“Our prop Gavin Cameron picked up a knock but that’s our only injury looking ahead to those games (against Glasgow Hawks and Stewart’s Melville) and in that respect we could have been worse off.”
Emphasising that the league has to take priority, Marshall added: “There wasn’t a lot of pressure on us so we didn’t want to get hurt and lose a lot of what we have built up over the last few weeks. It was pleasing we competed the way we did.”
Cameron’s injury will help guarantee an extended run for Cessford of whom Marshall has particularly high hopes, remarking: “Struan is raw but has a lot of potential. You don’t get many tight head props at 6ft 5in. Somebody needs to get a hold of him but he is coming on by playing 80 minutes every week and doing that will help him. He needs a good summer’s training.”
Cessford also has Heriot’s ex-Scotland and Lions prop Iain Milne in his corner with Marshall revealing: “I spoke to The Bear (Milne) about Struan’s potential and he has had a word with him. We’re trying get Struan’s skill levels up a wee bit because he did drop the ball a couple of times but he is capable of going a lot further.”
This was a compelling spectacle that went to the wire and Boroughmuir managed to look after possession marginally better and had a clinical edge that contributed to their success.
Referring to how his side were never behind but failed to shake off a determined Heriot’s, home coach Fergus Pringle said: “There were too many mistakes from us and we let them back in. But we defended well and our first up tackles enabled us to get turnover ball.” Pringle was also on duty with the clubs’ XV and revealed: “On the flight back Andy Rose nagged me throughout the journey to let him start for Boroughmuir.”
Boroughmuir were particularly sharp on the counter as underlined in the closing minutes when, from behind a retreating scrum, Rose picked up in his own “22” and began an 80 metre run which just ended with Redha Guedroudj being squeezed out in the corner as he prepared to pounce for a try that would have completed a well deserved hat-trick.
Former Scotland under-19 winger Guedroudj returned to Boroughmuir only last month from Aberdeen University and provided a cutting edge in tandem with Visser whose previous outing was as an Edinburgh try-scorer in Ulster.
Guedroudj’s first try came after only five minutes and was the result of a smash-and-grab raid with a lively Heriot’s team dropping the ball to allow Malcolm Clapperton to feature twice in the try construction.
A penalty by Ally Warnock took Boroughmuir to 10-0 before they were caught napping at the front of a line-out when Ross Martin scored for a Heriot’s side among whom Alex Spence caught the eye at flanker. Visser’s inclination to move infield looking for work set up Iain Moody for a converted try but again Heriot’s hit back when Graham Wilson was rounded off a catch-and-drive move.
Turning round 17-10 in front, Boroughmuir looked to have sealed silverware when Clapperton’s long pass released Guedroudj but, to their credit, Heriot’s battled to the end helped by another close-range rumble which produced a try for Jason Hill.
Scorers: Boroughmuir: Tries: Guedroudj (2), Moody. Conversions: Warnock (2). Penalty: Warnock. Heriot’s: Tries: Wilson, Martin, Hill.
Boroughmuir: K Buchan, S Visser, M Clapperton (captain), S Wilson, R Guedroudj, A Warnock, A Watt, N Fraser, C Mackintosh, J Latta, G Scott, W Kay, N Rodger, I Moody, A Henderson. Subs: Jones, R Wilson, A Rose, H Fenton, M Hare.
Heriot’s: G Lawson, C Goudie, M Learmonth, R Carmichael, M Nimmo, C Ferguson, G Wilson (captain), G Cameron, S Mustard, S Cameron, R Wilson, R Martin, M Reid, J Hill, A Spence. Subs: K Bryce, J Stafford, R Cessford, C Mulligan, J Bulamakau.
Referee: J van der Merwe (SRU).