Southern Knights will learn lessons from Super6 final defeat, pledges head coach Rob Chrystie

Southern Knights paid the penalty for indiscipline and failing to make the most of their chances against Ayrshire Bulls in the first-ever Fosroc Super6 play-off final yesterday, according to head coach Rob Chrystie.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 12:21 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 12:21 pm
Harry Borthwick making a break for Southern Knights during their Fosroc Super6 final against Ayrshire Bulls on Sunday (Photo: Ross Parker/SNS Group/SRU)

The Borderers gave the Bulls a 13-0 head start at Edinburgh’s DAM Health Stadium but did manage to get back on level terms in the second half, only for their opponents to then step up a gear and run out 26-16 winners.

That was head coach Pat MacArthur’s second victory over the Melrose-based side in a matter of weeks as they also beat them 17-11 at Millbrae in Ayr at the start of the month.

“It was down to small margins,” Chrystie told Borders Rugby TV.

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Ayrshire Buils' Yaree Fantini being tackled by Patrick Anderson for Southern Knights (Photo: Paul Devlin/SNS Group/SRU)

“We gave ourselves a lot to climb after the first 20 minutes, when we were just really indisciplined, which is not really like us.

“The penalty count was definitely in Ayrshire Bulls’ favour and rightly so.

“We just weren’t quite on it for that first 20 minutes and then we regained a bit of control.

“We had an opportunity when Iain Moody gets held up, then a massive opportunity just at half-time right in the corner which we didn’t convert, so ultimately we had our opportunities but I think Ayrshire Bulls probably took their chances a little bit more and they probably defended a little bit better than us as well.

Southern Knights head coach Rob Chrystie ahead of kick-off at yesterday's Fosroc Super6 final against Ayrshire Bulls (Photo: Paul Devlin/SNS Group/SRU)

“I think Ayrshire Bulls deserved to win.

“There wasn’t much in it. We started really poorly, if I’m being honest.

“We gave away a lot of penalties. We gave five penalties away in the first 20 minutes. When you start so poorly, it’s quite tough.”

Chrystie believes his side will learn lessons from their defeat, though, and take on board the fact they have to try to cut out mistakes and make the most of whatever opportunities present themselves in future.

Jacob Henry scoring a try for Southern Knights at Edinburgh's DAM Health Stadium (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group/SRU)

“Credit to our boys, they dug in and they stuck to task,” said the 43-year-old.

“Our boys will learn a lot from that. Little mistakes cost you in big games, so ultimately that’s what happened.

“They took their chances and we maybe didn’t quite take the chances that came to us.

“We’ve grown in the last two seasons from where we started to where we are just now.

Southern Knights' Andrew Mitchell fending off a Robert Beattie challenge during yesterday's Fosroc Super6 final versus Ayrshire Bulls (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group/SRU)

“We’ve got a really good core group of young players from the Borders that are looking to hopefully do something and move forward with their rugby, which is great.

“It wasn’t to be. We’ll take a little bit of pain just now and we’ll dust ourselves down and get ready to go again.”

Jacob Henry scored the Borderers’ only try of the game five minutes into the second half from a Jason Baggott pass following a lineout drive. Baggott added a conversion and three penalties.

Henry later had to be stretchered off after a high tackle by Tom Everard, resulting in a red card being shown by referee Keith Allen. That sending-off gave the Knights a two-man advantage for the last four minutes of the game but they were unable to capitalise on it to make up their 10-point scoreline deficit.

Elias Cavan and George Thornton touched down for the Bulls, with Tom Jordan contributing two conversions and three penalties.