Semple turns disaster into delight for Currie

Currie's 'Robbie Nelson evades Hawks' Jack Steele. Pic: Greg Macvean
Currie's 'Robbie Nelson evades Hawks' Jack Steele. Pic: Greg Macvean
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Two-try Currie hero Ruaraidh Smith has hailed goal-kicking colleague James Semple for turning failure into a fairytale as a BT Premiership play-off slot was claimed with a 15-10 home win over Glasgow Hawks.

With the match deep into injury time and the scores level at 10-10, Semple had a penalty in front of the posts which would have given Currie a top-four place and play-off semi-final at Heriot’s on Saturday. While skipper Ross Weston – amongst others – turned his back afraid to look, Semple saw his kick crash against an upright and back into play.

The stand-off immediately atoned by grabbing the rebound and throwing out a pass that put Smith over in the corner.

“It was great composure by James, who even managed to replace his gumshield between the kick and giving the scoring pass,” said five-times capped Scotland Under-20 winger Smith. “I saw the Hawks defence sliding across and just had to straighten up to score,” he added.

The try contrasted with Smith’s first, which gave Currie a 10-5 lead two minutes after turning round backed by a strong wind.

“Three times this season we have lost to Heriot’s by narrow margins including in the Scottish Cup,” Smith went on.

“Maybe it’s our turn now.”

It was a rusty display by Currie, which ensured Boroughmuir avoid a relegation play-off while Hawks have to beat Stirling County in a remaining encounter which will see the loser go into the survival fight. That was understandable 
given the stop-start nature of the Premiership.

With Heriot’s inactive at the weekend, though, Currie coach Ben Cairns believes that can work in his side’s favour.

“It is tough when you have three weeks off, but this sets us up nicely. Hopefully we have timed things right.”

Smith could actually have had a “hat-trick” but for a wild pass in his direction with the line unguarded.

Finlay Gillies had earlier put Hawks ahead.

When Smith launched the second half with a try it seemed Currie, for whom John Cox and Travis Brooke were outstanding, would kick on.

Instead they were rocked as Tommy Spinks picked up at the base of a scrum and charged over for the try with the blindside defence wrong-footed.

For Smith it was the latest chapter in a memorable season which has seen him share in those U-20 victories over Wales, Italy and Ireland.

“Hopefully there is a lot more to come not just with the play-offs but the Under-20 World Cup, if selected,” acknowledged the North Berwick-reared youngster.

Scorers: Currie: Tries: Smith (2), Carson.

Glasgow Hawks: Tries: Gillies, Spinks.

Currie: M McPhillips, R Smith, F Efthymiou, R Nelson, C Logan, J Semple, R Snedden, J Cox, M Goodwin, G Carson, J Gray, R Denonain, T Brooke, R Weston (c), M Peacock. Subs: K Bryce, A Hamilton, P Mundell, W Martin, M O’Neill.

Glasgow Hawks: R Houliston, N Herron, B McGroarty, D Milne, P Ramsay, J Steele, P Boyer, S Findlay, J McFarlane, B Cullinane, A Linton (c), A Kirkland, S Leckey, T Spinks, F Gillies. Subs: G Stewart, G Strain, A Davidson, A Nelson, R Beattie.

Referee: A McMenemy.