Dundee looked to have run away with this cup tie in the second half when injury-ravaged Currie suddenly resurrected themselves and scored two late tries that dragged them to within a single point.
Currie 29 - 30 Dundee HSFP
Scorers: Currie: Tries: Weston, Forbes, Penalty, Hinds. Cons: Forbes 2, Van der Westerlo. Pens: Forbes. Dundee: Tries: McIvor, McLean, Bowie, Levison. Cons: Steele 2. Pens: Steele 2.
As comebacks go it was pretty spectacular and it gave Dundee a fright, but it wasn’t enough to overcome that single-point barrier and Currie went down to yet another defeat in what has been a demoralising season.
Dundee coach Ian Rankin said: “In the dressing room we talked about this being a cup match so we didn’t need to worry about bonus points and just needed to get our nose in front and keep it there. I didn’t mean for them to take that so literally. However, we have the win and we are one game away from Murrayfield. Mission accomplished.”
Currie could only curse their luck and wonder what might have been. Coach Ally Donaldson was defiant, bemoaning the injuries that decimated his team before and during the match when there seemed to be an endless procession of players leaving the field to nurse their cuts, bruises and hamstrings. “I have never been as proud of a performance in many years,” he said. “To show guts and character like that that surely speaks volumes about these guys and their commitment to the club. The effort they put in was outstanding.”
Dundee stand off Jack Steele banged over his first penalty in the third minute to open the scoring, but Currie responded when scrum half Richard Snedden scooped up the ball as it rolled out the back of an early hardcore scrum and fed it back inside for No 8 Ross Weston to crash over the line. It was on 22 minutes that Currie hooker Billy Elmslie had to be replaced by Denis Pech who was only on the pitch a couple of minutes before his hamstring went. From the first uncontested scrum five metres out Weston’s opposite number Richie McIvor picked up and got the touchdown.
Then Dundee stretched away a little as full back Jamie Urquhart chipped over an advancing Currie defence and was flattened for his trouble but winger Andy McLean nipped through to hack on and snatch the try. Steele converted. On the half-hour mark Currie struck with the big bulk of replacement prop Mike Erskine steamrollering a couple of bodies before off-loading to full back Jamie Forbes for a try under the posts. Forbes converted. After the restart Currie drew level with a Forbes penalty before Dundee scored their third try, prop Alan Brown taking the ball after it was juggled between half a dozen pairs of hands and blasting a path through defenders for Callum Bowie to claim the points.
Currie were again reduced to 14 men when lock Andy Adam went in the bin for another ruck offence and Steele knocked over the penalty. And it looked as if it was all over when Dundee scrum half Andy Dymock took a quick tap penalty and sprinted 60 metres before passing to flanker Danny Levison on his shoulder for the try. Steele converted.
Currie came roaring back in the last ten minutes and as the ball went along the back line Forbes seemed certain to score in the corner until McIvor knocked him into touch at the corner and almost took his head off. McIvor got yellow, Currie got the penalty try and, with Forbes temporarily incapacitated, Caleb van der Westerlo kicked the conversion.
Time was fast running out as Currie launched another attack with Dundee in complete disarray and it was Adam Hinds who got the fourth try. Forbes converted but time was up.
Currie: J Forbes, A Whittingham, A Hinds, S James, M Peacock, C van der Westerlo, R Snedden, A Hamilton, B Ellie, F Watt, G Temple, A Adam, M Cairns, M Entwhistle, R Weston. Replacements: D Pech, M Erskine, S Burton, M Johnstone, J Swalek.
Dundee: J Urquhart, A McLean, H Duthie, R Lavery, C Bowie, J Steele, A Dymock, N Dymock, D Russell, A Brown, C Cumming, A Linton, D Levison, I Wilson, R McIvor. Replacements: S Longwell, G Robertson, J Morrison, J Rutnagur, R Lemon.
Referee: J Mathew.