The Borderers might still be winless five games into the series, with just a single point to their name, but Ruthven says his youthful squad are improving all the time and he’s hopeful that that progress will translate into better results before too long.
Friday’s 31-18 loss at Edinburgh’s Boroughmuir Bears has left the Melrose-based team 11 points adrift of their hosts at the foot of the series table, but they don’t have to wait long for a chance to turn the tables on them as they’re back at the capital’s Meggetland Sports Complex this coming Saturday, May 28, for a post-split bottom-three fixture, with kick-off at 2pm.
That latest defeat saw a much-improved showing from the Knights following their 62-12 battering at home to Ayrshire Bulls at the Greenyards two weeks previously and Ruthven wants to see further improvement ahead of their repeat fixture this weekend, he says.
“It was certainly an improvement on the Bulls match,” said the 43-year-old.
“We were just a bit porous in defence in the first 20 minutes. We gave away two very soft tries and kind of made things difficult for ourselves, but there was progression shown in our attack.
“Once we switched on, we were really dangerous and we scored some great tries, so we’ll take confidence from that.
“We do feel looking back, having done analysis of the game, there’s some quite quick fixables for our defence as well, so we’re lucky we’ve got the opportunity to play Boroughmuir again on Saturday. That’ll be a really good measurement for us to see how much better we can get this week and how much of what we learn will get stuck in players’ brains to put in a better performance and get a win moving into next week.”
That trip back to Meggetland is the Knights’ penultimate game of the campaign and it will be followed by a visit from another Edinburgh side, fourth-placed Heriot’s, to the Greenyards on Saturday, June 4, also at 2pm.
“Heriot’s are a strong team, but it’ll be nice to have them on our home patch,” said Ruthven.
“Back at the start of the season, it was 41-24 they beat us up there, so it’ll be good to get them back to ours. That’ll be another marker of how much we’ve developed over the last seven weeks.
“The sprint season is a time to look at all of our players, try to manage game-time for guys, look at different combinations and, having a large number of players, look at how they gel together, but you can’t replace the feeling of winning, so that’s got to be the main focus for us week in and week out. It would be great to get a couple of wins in the last two games.”
Aidan Cross got two of the Knights’ tries against Boroughmuir, with Ben Afshar scoring the other and Nathan Chamberlain contributing a penalty.