STIRLING County march on to next season’s British and Irish Cup, while Dundee must summon sufficient energy to face a relegation play off with Hawick after the two rivals had served up 12-try thriller.
Dundee HSFP 40-43 Stirling County
Scorers: Dundee – Tries: McIver (2), Redmayne, Hawkins, Steele. Cons: Urquhart (3). Pens: Urquhart (3). Stirling – Tries: Ashe, Gilmour, Edwards, Moffat, Bennett (2), McGuigan. Cons: Edwards (4).
Leading 40-31 going into the dying minutes, Dundee must have thought they were assured of Premiership rugby next campaign only to be hit with two stunning tries by the Bridgehaugh side which, from being league strugglers, has taken 26 points from a possible 30 in its last six games to end up in third place.
“We have worked hard for this and come a long way in the last few weeks, but it’s hard not to feel sorry for Dundee. It was a cruel way to lose,” said Graeme Young, the County head coach.
Dundee full-back Jamie Urquhart conceded his side had contrived to throw away a match they had appeared to have won, but said: “For the sake of retiring director of rugby Ian Rankin we will make no mistake in the play-off.”
An inspiring Richie McIver grabbed two first half gems, while Andy Redmayne, Adam Ashe, Danny Gilmour and Stuart Edwards all dotted down to give the Bridgehaugh side a half -time lead of 19-17.
An early second-half try by home lock Richie Hawkins, three penalties, and touchdown by Jack Steele seemed to have settled the outcome, but a late blitz of tries by hooker Alex Moffat and the County pros sealed an astonishing win.
Dundee: J Urquhart; A McLean, H Duthie, R Lavery, C Bowie; J Steele, A Dymock. N Dymock (c), D Russell, G Robertson, A Redmayne, R Hawkins, D Levison, I Wilson. R McIvor. Subs used: S Longwell, A Linton, C Cumming, P Islam, M Brown.
Stirling: J Hope; B McGuigan, B Addison, D Gilmour, R Hughes; S Edwards, C Turnbull. M McDonald, A Moffat (c), G Mountford, R Leishman, C Deacons, T Clarke, R Boswell, A Ashe. Subs used: C Hutton, R Kennedy, S Robertson, S McDonald, M Bennett.
Referee C Rudkin