Southern Knights 12 – 19 Heriot’s Rugby

Saturday 7th December @The Greenyards, Melrose

Match Report by Alan Lorimer for The Offside Line

Heriot’s made it two from four after achieving their second positive result in the FOSROC Super6 with a dominant performance against a Southern Knights side still seeking its first win in the series.

Throughout the match, the Goldenacre side looked the more ambitious and by the second half when they dominated matters their running style of rugby was becoming more and more telling.

“I felt we were the team trying to play with width in the game and on another day we would have scored a number of tries,” claimed Phil Smith, the Heriot’s coach, who was impressed by the contributions of the replacements.  “I thought the bench played really well. They came on and made a big difference. We’re now closer to what we feel is the right team. People put their hands up today for next week’s selection.”

“In the second half I thought our game management was superb and our defence was as well,” he added.

Much of that management was down to stand-off Stuart Edwards, who collected the man-of-the-match award for a fine display.  Impressive, too,  was back-row and Scotland under-20 cap Charlie Jupp, who was key to Heriot’s third try, shortly after coming off the bench.

For Southern Knights there must now be some concern after what was, over the piece, a performance that never looked like ending in victory. Coach Rob Chrystie admitted that the Goldenacre men were in charge for most of the match. “Heriot’s managed the game pretty well,” he said. “We were only out of our half twice in the first half.”

On the positive side, Chrystie was heartened by the displays of his replacements. “There are now guys getting opportunities. I thought Fin Scott did well. He threw in  pretty well and some of his carries were good. Jacob Henry will get more opportunities.”

On a plastic pitch that invited running rugby, but in wind and rain that did not, it was Knights who initially looked the more likely team to open the scoring,  mounting what seemed like a five-day siege on the Heriot’s line only to come away with nothing.

Heriot’s appeared to be in their stride when they ran ball in their opponents’ 22m area. A dropped pass, however, allowed the Knights’ centre Patrick Anderson to hack upfield. The former Scotland under-20 cap then showed good soccer skills by kicking the ball in the direction of Joe Jenkins for the former Welsh Sevens player to score, Jason Baggott adding the conversion.

And that was it for the rest of the first half as defences and the wet conditions helped mistakes to multiply.

Heriot’s, however,  quickly asserted themselves in the second half, with multiple assaults on the Knights’ line that resulted first in a yellow card for hooker Russell Anderson and then a penalty try when the home side collapsed a five metre scrum as Heriot’s went for the jugular.

Then with a seemingly endless supply of ball, Heriots struck again with clever handling that created space for replacement Jack Blain to romp over for an unconverted try.

Another try seemed inevitable as Heriot’s maintained their grip on the game and it came after Jupp scooped up a loose Knights’ pass before assisting in a move that ended with Edwards showing soft hands to put Michael Liness in, with Ross Jones adding the conversion.

To their credit, Southern Knights hit back in the last five minutes and were rewarded with a try under the posts by Baggott, whose attempted drop kick conversion from in front of the posts misfired, to cement the impression that matters are not going well for the Greenyards men at the moment.