Boroughmuir 1st XV 74 Lasswade 14 - Also Video Highlights
It was fortunate this Regional Cup game was still on, with the 2nds and Bear's games called off. Boroughmuir were looking to establish some form after a few weeks off. This was going to be critical for the Muir Coaches to show what improvement they had made to the team with the time available to them and critical for the players to get back to match fitness.
Lasswade once again showed the best of pre match hospitality with a well organised pre-match lunch and it was not long before conversations filled the air with the state of the game in relation to scheduling around the weather and managing the decreasing numbers in the game, a common issue for both clubs.
Lasswade were missing a couple of key players going into this game but with occasions such as this were not going to be taking a step back against anyone.
From the kick off, Ian Moody took a clean catch and made an immediate break to head back into the Lasswade half, an early break out was on the cards within the first minute as Moody and Johnny Latta combined well to move up to the Lasswade 22. With a quick ruck the ball was distributed to the waiting backline, but as is all too common script with Muir early in the games, basic handling forced a knock on and what could have been an early scoring opportunity was lost.
After Lasswade clearing Muir were able to co-ordinate another attack up the park. Keith Buchan making a good run down the wing putting Muir into an attacking position. Possession nearly lost due to a lack of basic ‘draw and passing’ if not for Jamie Swanson steading the play by setting up a ruck 2 meters out from the Lasswade line. Sam Johnson moving the ball quickly from the base of the ruck for Ali Warnock finding a gap to score the first try.
Lasswade were keen not to let the game run away from them and with a good combination between Lasswade 10 Russell Gladstone and outside centre, Mark Wilson, Lasswade cut the Muir defence like gift wrapping on Christmas morning. Wilson’s run getting Lasswade deep into Muir’s half were they gained a penalty from Muir for not rolling away and opted for the lineout.
With a good take and initial drive, a small knock on allowed Warnock to gather and clear. The early signs were clear, Lasswade had found their stride and it was only going to be a matter of time before they were back on Muir’s line.
Another penalty to Lasswade brought them back 5 meters out from the Muir line and with ‘mature’ patience ruck after ruck realising the ball to Lasswade’s Craig Quigley who proceeded to knock over Muir’s defence and power over for a well-deserved try.
Muir’s backline defence was quiet during the first quarter of the game, with only the Muir coaches shouting from the stand, trying to provide coaching tips to their players. Andy Rose giving the Muir players positive instructions to re-establish themselves into the game.
From the resulting kick off, Muir find themselves deep into Lasswade’s 22 and from the resulting line out and a good drive controlled by Andy Rose. Seeing the opportunity in the mid field, Johnson fires a quick pass out finding Moody in good position to score under the posts.
Lasswade put the re-start kick deep into Muir’s territory allowing Muir to spread the ball to the backline, again basic handling lets the backline down with a knock on. Conditions were not wet and Rose has a quick word with the backline with a Christmas message of good will, cheer and concentration.
Muir get the ball back from the resulting scrum and a power house kick from Warnock sends the teams back to the Lasswade 22. A good line out again gives Muir a solid platform to drive forward. The Muir forwards reluctant to release the ball into the backs and choose to keep it tight. Again Swanson powers forward setting up just short of the line.
Good composure and control driving Muir over the try line but determined Lasswade defence holding them up, 5 meter scrum Muir. Lasswade nearly push Muir off the ball for a tight-head but quick hands from Swanson picks and goes. Muir set up a series of rucks before Swanson takes a short pass and with a good run leading just short of the Lasswade line enables Johnson to dart from the back of the ruck to score.
This opened the gates for Muir, with Stevie Wilson making a great run through the Lasswade line to score a good try. Confidence showing back into the Muir backline after some early mistakes.
After the restart, Warnock again shows his worth with the boot, sending a well-placed kick into the Lasswade 22, unfortunately for Lasswade the clearance was off the side of the boot giving Muir another strong chance. A good take from Muir from the line was quickly pushed back by Lasswade but with good control by Rose and co-ordination from Johnson Muir were able to get the push on. Johnson again using his pace off the back of the maul to dart around and nearly scoring if it was not for the fact the ref felt he had assisted Johnson by acting as a blocker to aid in his run.
Form the resulting scrum Swanson again, takes a quick pick and go, stepping out of tackles and power through. Support either side of Swanson it would have been good to see it used but that close to the line he was able to power across. Against a stronger back 3, it might have been a different ending.
What could have been the try of the game came from the restart with a good take by Moody allowing Muir to run it either side of the field. The ball coming out to Warnock and with the slightest of passes finds Swanson on his shoulder for a fast break up the centre of the park. With the Muir cover defence closing in, Jordan Webster gets to Swanson’s shoulder for the off load, Webster having to work to get to the corner to end the 80 meter try.
Lasswade need to stem the flow of this game and this came though inside centre James Elliot who easily cut through the Muir back line making good ground deep into the Muir half. As Lasswade spun the ball out wide, a well-placed kick through forced Muir’s Jordan Edmunds to turn and sprint, gather and clear the ball down the field. This resulted in Lasswade, again not clearing far enough giving Muir a lineout from which to launch another attack. From the lineout the ball found its way into Keith Buchan’s hand from where he showed good pace and balance to get outside his man, draw the last line of defence and get an inside pass to Rose running the support line.
This leading to the half time whistle. An indifferent effort from Muir in the first half, their centres showing their nerve by a few drop balls and letting runners past their defence line but recovering when on attack.
The 2nd half had Muir begin as they finished with a Johnson try from another good lineout. This opens the gates for Muir and confidence is high. None so more than with Greg Scott who spots the ball on Muir’s side of the ruck and with a quick pass to Johnson who feeds to back line finding Damian Hoyland, using his pace to sprint up the field and fending the cover defence to draw the full back and a soft pass to Buchan on the inside for another 80 meter try.
Muir get into their flow of finding good field position and using their lineout to effect. Rose acting as Santa behind his reindeer gets the benefit of a try from the lineout drive. A good platform the practice the Muir players had been working on during the week.
Local support was still vocal for the Lasswade team who were keen to take advantage of Muir stepping off the pedal, by capitalising on the series of penalties to move up to the Muir’s try line. Again a strong run by Quigley with support from Lasswade Captain Gavin Brown and Wilson results in a try under the posts for Lasswade and restoring confidence in the team.
The number of tries in the game is not reflecting the way Muir is playing the game, they are still dropping easy passes and falling off tackles. In a closer game against a tough opposition, this lapse would result in the opposition turning the tide on Muir, a reflection of Muir’s season to date.
The game takes a turn with the scrums going uncontested but this does not impact Muir’s game plan. Swanson who has been all over the field this game makes a break up the centre of the field angling his run towards the side-line. With a flick pass back inside, a Lasswade hand knocks the ball down but unfortunately for Lasswade towards the in goal area. Rob Cains the first to dive on the ball for his first try.
At this stage of the game, Lasswade are still showing good determination it is the pace of the game that Muir are setting that over takes them. A good phase of play sees Darren Miller score a good push over try.
The game concluding with a flurry of attacking rugby from Muir but Lasswade showing the resilience which saw them win the 2010/11 league stopping any more points being scored.
Questions still to be answered about Muir’s mid field defence and ball handling skills, surprisingly even when not under pressure. A game where the Muir coaches should not be entirely happy with, they will need to focus their training plans on elements that still exist where concentration drops for periods of games further more to the fact that you can’t coach the players during the game and allow confidence in the players on the field to make their own decision.
From the player’s point of view, there was a real sense of enjoyment and cohesion in the team. The basics of the line out and scrum set a platform to which they could re-establish their game when their plans were disrupted.
Lasswade should strengths to compete with Muir at the set piece and should be proud of their efforts for the full 80mins.
Next game for the Boroughmuir 1st XV will be away to Currie and back to the league action.