Edinburgh Accies 38 - 19 Currie: Accies pull together for deserved win
THIS was anyone’s game until the final 25 minutes when, almost as if inspired by a harsh yellow card that went against them, the depleted home team drew level and then ran in another hat-trick of tries as Currie’s previous composure crumbled.
It was the kind of result that Accies coveted after a long series of close encounters where a mere handful of points measured the difference between victory and defeat, and it was abundant reward for patient tactics and a bundle of high-class individual performances from the players.
In a mobile pack that covered every inch of the pitch, the two locks Greg Campbell and Andrew Findlater were outstanding carriers of the ball while the back row did not allow Currie a moment’s peace with a relentless tempo and work rate. Openside flanker Hamish Watson in particular showed exactly why he is in Edinburgh’s elite development squad.
Behind the forwards stand off Ruairidh Bonner weathered a difficult first half to gain almost complete control of the game and teenage full back Ruairidh Young helped himself to a couple of opportunistic tries.
If it was all positive for Accies, Currie were left wondering what happened to their normally reliable tackling and ball retention skills after a promising start that degenerated badly as they completely overwhelmed by the late try rush.
The outcome drags Currie down to third place and severely damages their title hopes, while Accies consolidate their position in the top half of the Premiership table.
Accies coach Simon Cross said: “That is the sort of performance we have been trying to put in for a while. The handling and lines of running were excellent and I was really happy with the attitude to defence as well. The guys were making the hits and getting back on their feet immediately. There were no blue shirts on the floor which is important against a team like Currie. You have to fill the field because they have so many dangerous runners.
“It is really pleasing. I have got 20 very young guys out, every one of them Scottish qualified. We want to build a team like that and have more young players coming through.”
Currie had little reason to believe it would turn out to be such a bad afternoon when after only five minutes Accies were caught ball watching and centre James Johnstone fielded a kindly bounce for the first try.
Accies took a little while to get up to speed but stated their intention as Watson went charging through a nervous defence. Then Bonner took a quick tap penalty 40 metres out, gave it to blindside Dan Teague to make the hard yards and accepted it back to score.
Minutes later Teague was held up over the line and from the scrum Accies kept up the pressure until Findlater crashed over. Currie were tottering at this stage, having lost ex-pro Alex Blair with a hamstring tear and Cypriot international Andrew Binikos with a shoulder injury, but quicksilver full back Jamie Forbes steadied with a try under the posts after stepping off his left foot and leaving the Accies defence helpless. He converted his own try to have Currie reach half time 12-14 ahead.
Soon after the break Currie struck again, pressuring Accies on their own line so that a clearance kick didn’t find touch but Forbes who stopped off his right foot this time as he cut inside and then passed wide for winger Adam Hinds to claim the try in the far corner, injuring his ankle in the process and playing no further part.
Then in 54 minutes came the yellow card. Accies centre Nyle Godsmark tackled Murray Johnstone, the replacement for Hinds, as he kicked ahead, knocking him into touch. It looked a text book tackle but the referee and touch judge decided it was late and the culprit was binned.
Forbes missed the penalty attempt and from the 22 drop out, Accies won the ball and sent Campbell rampaging into the opposite 22, passing to scrum half Alex Black who was only brought down with a last ditch tackle by Forbes. But 14-man Accies would not be denied and Currie were pushed back with Young scoring his first as the forwards sucked in the defenders and created the space. The conversion equalised the scores at 19-19 and Godsmark was no sooner back on the pitch than Number 8 Tom Drennan led the charge through some ineffectual tackling and Young got his second try, the team’s fourth, for the bonus point.
Currie were a spent force by this stage, a shadow of the title challengers they were in the first half of the season. Two rapid counter attacks killed them off with first Godsmark and then replacement Callum Reid adding a fifth and a sixth try.
Currie coach Ally Donaldson said: “Even though we hadn’t played all that well, I thought at 19-12 we could have closed up the game. We just turned over far too much ball and didn’t tackle very well. They scored two tries when we were in their 22 and lost the ball. We shouldn’t have been coughing up ball like that. We did it the whole game. At halftime we spoke about poor tackling and ball retention but it didn’t get any better.”
Scorers: Edinburgh Accies – Tries: Bonner, Findlater, Young (2), Godsmark, Reid. Cons: Bonner (4). Currie – Tries: Johnstone, Forbes, Hinds. Cons: Forbes (2).
Edinburgh Accies: R Young; A Blair, E Campbell, N Godsmark, M Coupar; R Bonner, A Black; C Murray, C Black, A Allan, G Campbell, A Findlater, D Teague, H Watson, T Drennan. Subs: M Liness, D Morrison, C Reid, M Campbell, E Bonner.
Currie: J Forbes; A Hinds, J Johnstone, S James, A Whittingham; A Binikos, R Snedden, A Hamilton; F Scott, M Erskine, S Marcell, J Gray, M Cairns, M Entwhistle, R Weston. Subs: F Watt, J Cox, G Temple, M Peacock, M Johnstone.
Referee: A McPherson.
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