Final countdown ahead for Southern Knights as season’s end nears

Southern Knights have booked their place in the first-ever Fosroc Super6 play-off final in Edinburgh the weekend after next and head coach Rob Chrystie is already looking forward to that showdown with Ayrshire Bulls despite the regular season still having one more round to go.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 11:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 2:16 pm
Southern Knights on the attack against Ayrshire Bulls on Friday (Photo: George McMillan)

The Borderers will take on the South Ayrshire side for the third time this season at the new DAM Health Stadium at Murrayfield on Sunday, October 17, for this season’s title and he’s hoping his side can bounce back from their defeat by the Bulls last Friday to come up trumps.

“It’s going to be a great day and great occasion, and I’m hoping we can get a really good crowd along,” said Chrystie.

“There seems to be growing support for us as the season goes on.

Southern Knights losing 17-11 to Ayrshire Bulls (Photo: George McMillan)

“I’m seeing new faces at games and players are seeing the opportunities Super6 has to offer and more people are coming along to watch games too.”

The Bulls’ 17-11 win against the Melrose-based side at a rain-lashed Millbrae in Ayr lifted them up to the top of the Super6 table at their visitors’ expense, though the two teams are level on 31 points.

That made it honours even for the finalists thus far this campaign, the Knights having beaten the Bulls 22-20 at the Greenyards in mid-August following on from a 31-28 pre-season friendly victory there in July.

Less than a penalty’s worth of points separated the two teams on those occasions and there wasn’t much more in it on Friday night, the difference being that the hosts made more of their opportunities, according to Chrystie.

Southern Knights defenders dealing with an Ayrshire Bulls attack (Photo: George McMillan)

“I think they took their chances better than us,” said the 43-year-old.

“We were in there more than them and created more but they were pretty lethal when they got their chances.

“We could have started a wee bit better. They were lethal with their two early tries and that made it hard for us in those conditions but we almost got there.”

Chrystie says he’ll be making a few changes to his starting XV for the final game of the regular season this Friday, at home to third-placed Stirling County, but will still be hoping to go out of round 10 of the tournament with a bang.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a balance,” he said. “It’s our last home game of the season and we want to put in a really good performance to build up momentum going into the final.

“Some boys will get a bit of an opportunity but we’ll be looking to carry on doing what we do best.”

Stirling are the only side so far that the Knights haven’t beaten this season, having been held to a 24-24 opening-day draw at Bridgehaugh Park at the end of July, as though they’ve lost away to the Bulls and Edinburgh’s Watsonians, they’ve also got the better of them at the Greenyards.

This Friday’s game kicks off at 7.30pm. For ticket details, go to https://southernknights.club/tickets-hospitality

The play-off final on October 17 at United Rugby Championship side Edinburgh’s new near-7,800-capacity stadium kicks off at 1.30pm. To book tickets, go to https://www.eticketing.co.uk/scottishrugby/Events?preFilter=50&fbclid=IwAR3F4_kZ0Ny25Rlaj3JgjrK6y8JBC79-KFGqrv8W4mO40TL6vrapLe_bbHs