MAN-OF-THE-MATCH hero Rob Dewey has confirmed that he’s ready to move to the Capital in order to further boost his prospects of landing a pro deal with Edinburgh Gunners, in the wake of helping Scotland under-21s return to winning ways for the first time in seven matches.
Fresh from scoring one of five tries in a 29-17 win over Russia that fulfilled the team’s aims in terms of gaining a bonus point, albeit they still find themselves in the third-tier world championship play-offs on Wednesday, against Tonga at Galashiels, centre Dewey confirmed he was joining Heriot’s from Kirkcaldy - as revealed by the Evening News last week.
"A switch to Heriot’s offers me a chance to step up to Premiership Division One and extend a hope of landing a part-time contract with Edinburgh as a member of their back-up squad," said Dewey. What’s certain is that if the powerfully-built Dewey keeps making the type of penetrative breaks which caused damage at Burnbrae, Glasgow, on Saturday then prospects of playing for pay are bound to be enhanced.
For, although the occasional pass went astray - the Fifer’s display uncannily mirrored that of his team in that for all that if wasn’t the complete article it still contained elements of considerable promise that have to be recognised and savoured - Dewey is one to watch, albeit a modest sort.
This came to the fore in playing down his individual award and instead talking up the contribution alongside of fellow midfielder, Iain Berthinussen (Gala).
"Playing beside Iain was certainly an advantage because he has gas and a big boot," said Dewey whose own talents are all the more remarkable at this stage considering he was twice laid up by through surgery after getting an outing for Edinburgh as an amateur during the final match of the 2002-03 season.
"Twice I’ve undergone cartilage operations but hopefully that is behind me now," said the blond-haired prospect. "After going seven matches without a win we can take heart and the challenge now is to go up a few more levels."
Rapid gear-changing is also the aim of coach Johnno Phillips who claimed that one of the highlights of the tournament so far has been the way the team have learned, in the aftermath of a win over opponents never allowed to get in front, to mix satisfaction with realism. Phillips, disappointed to lose Watsonian flanker Neil Cochrane after 35 minutes with an achilles tendon injury which required a degree of re-organisation to be overcome, said:"The team are at a stage where they haven’t had much experience of knowing how long to enjoy the positives - and when to recognise the work that still has to be done.
"The message I took into the dressing-room after beating Russia is not to be flat. Every player will receive a detailed analysis of every aspect of their play and move on."
Such an equitable approach should ensure there are other wins before the tournament ends not least, too, because the Scots have learned a try-scoring knack. Nine tries have been scored in three outings and while form has been mixed Phillips rightly said it was reassuring that players knew their way over the try-line with scorers ranging from wingers to tight forwards.
For example, prop Alasdair Dickinson stands out today as Scotland’s top try-scorer with a double while two wingers have also crossed overall.
One of the most pleasing phases, Phillips said, was after Scotland had gone 19-0 ahead and, relaxed and with fear of failure virtually banished, a slickness rarely seen from them in this tournament suddenly surfaced albeit too briefly.
The Scots have re-learned the winning habit even if it was against a moderate rival and that will engender confidence better than anything especially after never really looking like losing in a match where two tries - inconsistency was never better illustrated - against them came late.
For the most part, though, it was all Scotland as stand off Stephen Jones sent over Dewey for an unconverted try. This was followed up by lock Colin White, supporting well, after a penalty had cannoned back off the post and this time Jones did convert.
Ahead 12-0 at the interval, Scotland went on to lead 24-0 through tries by lively winger Stephen Gordon, converted by Jones, and prop Dickinson. When Russia revived it was with tries by winger Andrey Keller and stand off Sugrobov, full back Klychnikov converting the latter which served only to bring the best from the Scots. Here sub Scott Forrest charged 60 metres to set up Stephen Jones whose touchdown was too far out for another replacement, Neil Hunter, to convert.
Russia had the last word with a try by lock Garbuzov and while the late lapse bore testimony to a generally undistinguished performance this was more than counterbalanced by ending the win famine.
As coach Phillips said "preparations are now conducted on the front foot" and while the quality of opposition in the basement was not the type aimed for at least Scotland’s rugby hopefuls have learned to win again.