Patience a virtue as gritty Heriot's frustrate Currie

A superb defensive effort by Heriot's coupled with two short-range tries by their two locks set up a victory that stung Currie, even though the losing bonus point the Chieftans salvaged lifted them into second place in the Premiership table at the halfway point of the season.
Coach Ben Cairns said Currie's performance was 'not good enough'. Picture: SNS.Coach Ben Cairns said Currie's performance was 'not good enough'. Picture: SNS.
Coach Ben Cairns said Currie's performance was 'not good enough'. Picture: SNS.

In a tight game hugely 
influenced by a gusting wind, Heriot’s won because they didn’t miss a tackle and took their chances with a blend of patience, persistence, and predatory instinct.

Currie didn’t have the same patience and made more mistakes in possession but they did persist, toughing it out into the teeth of a strong wind to score a late try that rescued the losing bonus point.

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Chieftains coach Ben Cairns, pictured, was merciless in his verdict. “Not good enough,” he said. “The first-half performance let us down. We started well but then let them off the hook and all the momentum we had went out the window and we had to start to build again. For the rest of the half we were just awful in terms of our urgency, energy, and mentality.

“There was only one team that wanted to go out there with the kind of physicality necessary and it wasn’t us.”

Currie, with the wind at their backs, spent the first ten minutes parked on the Heriot’s line but despite relentless pressure failed to come away with any points.

Having survived the initial storm Heriot’s carried the ball to the other end of the pitch and second row Callum Marshall crashed over for the try.

Currie captain Robbie Nelson tried to inspire his team- mates with some aggressive running in midfield but Heriot’s wrapped him up and limited the damage, allowing them to set up a maul that rolled from the halfway line deep into the Currie 22. Lock Mike Vernel was sin binned for pulling down the maul and Heriot’s full-back Ross Jones stepped up to kick the penalty.

Currie, still with 14 men, steeled themselves to retaliate and when scrum-half Matt O’Neil had the presence of mind to chip kick over the advancing Currie line, winger Cammy Gray was first to the ball for the home side’s first try, converted to make it 7-8 at half-time.

Heriot’s, using the wind intelligently, went further ahead in the second half when free-scoring lock Jack Turley – a hat-trick of tries the previous week – went through a gap created by his pack to score his team’s second try, converted by Jones.

The eight-point margin meant Currie had to score at least twice, giving Heriot’s a breathing space that was needed because Currie stuck to their task as the wind strengthened and time trickled away.

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A five-metre lineout was Currie’s late flourish. The ball was taken high and turned into a rolling maul. A lunge off the back was halted, and another two before No 8 Rhys Davies muscled his way over for the try. Forbes converted but it left that stubborn one-point difference that gave Heriot’s the win.