There was no disguising Peter Jericevich’s sense of anticipation for County’s first BT Cup final appearance after his side demolished Hawick with eight tries.
Stirling’s player-coach was clearly delighted with his team’s performance, which secured the final contest against Melrose at Murrayfield on 28 April.
“There’s a lot of good stuff we can take from today and we’ll obviously watch a video of the Melrose game and do our homework. They’ve been the in-form team all season so that’s going to be a big challenge, but we’re ready,” said Jericevich, pictured.
He was full of praise for his players after the comprehensive victory. “We’ve had a lot of prep time. Once league survival was secured we had six weeks to prepare for this game and it is pleasing that all the things we worked on over that period were delivered out there.
“We knew Hawick would pose a physical challenge but we fronted up with lots of good defence and I think we won the setpiece battle as well.
“Our line-speed gave us an interception try and we might have had a few more, and some of the double tackles and winning of the ball on the deck was good to see.”
County were always in front, starting with a penalty from fullback Jonny Hope and stretching the lead when Jericevich himself went over, Hope converting.
Hawick got back in the game when Greg Cottrell touched down, Lee Armstrong adding the extras, but thereafter it was all Stirling. Glasgow Warriror Niko Matawalu finished a drive by the forwards by diving over and he got his second try shortly afterwards with Hope converting for a 22-7 interval lead.
Hooker Reyner Kennedy continued the onslaught right from the restart before Gary Munro reduced the deficit with a score out wide for Hawick.
Another Glasgow Warrior, Chris Fusaro, sprinted in for a touchdown that Hope goalled to kill off any hopes of a comeback and Kerr Gossman bagged a brace of tries in quick succession as County put the visitors to the sword, Hope converting the first, with Fusaro also getting his second touchdown two minutes later.
Callum McClelland notched a consolation score for Hawick that Armstrong converted but this was unmistakably Stirling’s day, a point acknowledged by Hawick head coach George Graham.
He said: “All credit to Peter and his coaching team, they did their homework well. They disrupted our line-out and they stopped us getting momentum. Our error count in the first half was shocking, we just couldn’t get a foothold in the game. We’re disappointed with that but, in terms of the season, we achieved our aim by getting survival.”