Dundee HSFP 6 - 32: Pirates show no mercy
The British and Irish Cup is a great concept, even if some battered and bruised Dundee bodies might not agree with that this morning. The home side were well beaten by the visitors, who simply fielded too much muscle for Dundee to cope with.
The match ended in controversy with Dundee’s Robbie Lavery shown a red card for a couple of cracking punches that connected with the intended target, Pirates’ lock Darren Berry, who had already done a ten-minute stint in the sin bin for taking a player out off the ball. There were suggestions that there had been gouging before the flare-up.
“If you take a look at Robbie’s eyes you will see why he reacted in the way he did,” said Dundee’s coach Iain Rankin at the final whistle. “I hope that the authorities deem that the sending off is sufficient when they look into the reasons behind it.
“I have just said to the guys in the huddle that we need to take that form to Aberdeen next weekend, because we are at the wrong end of the table and I still believe that we have the players here to be much better than that.”
Pirates scored two first-half tries and added another two after the break. Stand-off Aaron Penberthy added three conversions and two penalties to give the visitors a healthy lead at the death.
Most championship teams field a shadow XV in this competition but the Pirates have been struggling for consistency in the league, with three wins in six outings despite starting as favourites. As a result, they brought what was almost a full-strength squad. It even included three players who are jointly registered with Exeter. One of them, Jack Nowell, was on Heineken duty last weekend, so even with a decent crowd through the Mayfield gates, it must have been something of as comedown for the full-back.
Amongst the visitors was Aberdonian Ben Prescott, who has played in just about every league in the British Isles. The one-time Glasgow prop has enjoyed stints at places as diverse as Aberdeen Grammar, Leinster, Nottingham, Rotherham Titans, Northampton Saints and Heineken Cup winners Leinster. The stalwart prop even became a father to premature twins last months so he’s been commuting up and down on a weekly basis.
“Yeah it’s been a pretty interesting month,” said the prop. “The twins were born nine months early and they are now in Larbert hospital. The Pirates have been really good to me, flying me up and down. I think its about a decade since I turned out for Aberdeen Grammar and I’ve been on some travels since then. I have so much kit at home that my wife keeps telling me to get rid of it.”
Dundee have had multiple injury issues, they are hopelessly short on confidence and they are sitting in the basement of the premiership in Scotland so the match winner was never in doubt. What must have been encouraging for Rankin was that it wasn’t until the second half that his side really wilted.
The Dundee forwards were under the cosh at the set scrum but they did manage to drive a couple of lineouts against the full-time professionals. Lock forward Andy Linton won his ball at the sidelines and was arguably the man of the match.
There were other notable performances: Dundee’s English prop Steve Longwell enjoyed a good few runs against his fellow countrymen, Andy McLean ran hard on the wing whenever he had the opportunity, Glasgow’s Canadian teenager Taylor Paris was a livewire on the other flank, skipper Harry Duthie marshalled his defence and scrumhalf Andy Dymock tidied up no end of scrappy ball.
In short, if Dundee had played like with this authority and passion in the domestic league, they would be a lot nearer the top than the bottom.
The Pirates won this match but they won’t be happy with the manner in which they did so. They kicked heaps of possession away and their defence allowed Dundee to make numerous line breaks. They were also utterly cynical on an afternoon when it simply wasn’t needed. After scoring 18 points in the first half, the visitors struggled to make much of a dent in a Dundee defence that grew in stature as the match progressed.
The third quarter of the match was scoreless and while Jamie Urquhart missed one long-range penalty, the big full-back was successful with two other attempts just after the one hour mark when the Pirates lost their discipline under their own posts.
Almost inevitably, the Pirates had the final word with further tries in the final 15 minutes. Flanker Phil Burgess grabbed his second after some good handling and winger Grant Pointer collected a cross-field kick to score in the same place.
The match ended with a flurry of punches and that red card for Lavery, which left a bad taste in the mouth.
Scorers: Dundee: Try: Conv: Pen: Urquhart (2). Pirates: Try: Burgess (2), Nowell, Pointer Conv: Penberthy (3) Pen:
Dundee: Urquhart, McLean, Duthie, Lavery, Paris (Walker 75 min); Laursen, A Dymock (Steele 68 min); Longwell (N Dymock 40 min), Russell (Curry 68 min), Brown (Robertson 58 min), Linton, Hawkins (Subbs 78 min), Cummings, Wilson (Morrison 75 min), McIver.
Pirates: Nowell, Pointer, Cheesman, Bedford (Riley 58 min), Mercer; Penberthy, Kessell; Andrew, Yeandle (Semmens 78 min), Prescott (Joyce 56 min), Lyons, Barry, Maidment, Burgess, McGlone.
Referee: Stuart Graffikin (IRFU)
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