​Top-half finish in rugby’s Fosroc Super Series Sprint table still within Southern Knights’ reach despite fourth loss of campaign

Heriot's Seamus Smith fending off Southern Knights tighthead prop Zenon Szwagrzak during the Borderers' 31-17 away loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)Heriot's Seamus Smith fending off Southern Knights tighthead prop Zenon Szwagrzak during the Borderers' 31-17 away loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)
Heriot's Seamus Smith fending off Southern Knights tighthead prop Zenon Szwagrzak during the Borderers' 31-17 away loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)
​Southern Knights need to learn fast how to turn possession into points if they’re to have any hope of vying for a top-half finish to their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint rugby season, according to defence coach Iain Chisholm.

​The Borderers suffered their fourth loss in five games away to Heriot’s at Edinburgh’s Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday, but that 31-17 defeat, like one by the same scoreline hosting Boroughmuir Bears at the end of April, could easily have gone the other way had the visitors finished moves off better, reckons Chisholm.

Saturday’s defeat leaves Knights bottom of the table, on five points from as many fixtures, but a third-place play-off remains within reach as second-from-bottom Boroughmuir and fourth-placed Watsonians are only a point better off than them.

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To earn a place in that play-off rather than one to avoid the wooden spoon, they’ll need to get the better of title challengers Stirling Wolves at home at Melrose’s Greenyards this Friday, though, with kick-off at 7.35pm.

Heriot's Pat Spence being tackled by Southern Knights replacement Michael Badenhorst during the Borderers' 31-17 loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)Heriot's Pat Spence being tackled by Southern Knights replacement Michael Badenhorst during the Borderers' 31-17 loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)
Heriot's Pat Spence being tackled by Southern Knights replacement Michael Badenhorst during the Borderers' 31-17 loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)

Head coach Eddie Pollock’s Wolves, fresh from beating Bears 64-38 at the weekend, are currently second in the table, on 20 points, and looking to book a play-off final against Ayrshire Bulls, one point better off than them in pole position at the moment.

Depending on Friday’s result, it could be Knights’ last home game ever so Chisholm is hoping to see them go out on a high.

“They’ll be a different type of challenge to Heriot’s,” he said.

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“Stirling are kicking more than I’ve seen them kick previously and I know how they like to play.

Heriot's Sam Pecquer being tackled by Southern Knights loosehead prop Angus McGregor during the Borderers' 31-17 away loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)Heriot's Sam Pecquer being tackled by Southern Knights loosehead prop Angus McGregor during the Borderers' 31-17 away loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)
Heriot's Sam Pecquer being tackled by Southern Knights loosehead prop Angus McGregor during the Borderers' 31-17 away loss at Edinburgh's Goldenacre playing fields on Saturday as their third and final Fosroc Super Series Sprint campaign nears its end (Photo: Malcolm Mackenzie)

“They understand what’s been successful for them over the last wee while and that's kicking to try and get counter-attacking opportunities. We’re preparing this week based on them playing that type of game.

“They’re a physical side and they’re good at what they do and they probably fancy themselves to win the sprint, but if we can just put a real focus on not beating ourselves to make sure that we’re still in the game at 60 minutes, we’ll give ourselves a chance to go and get a result.

“Looking at how Boroughmuir scored six tries against Stirling on Saturday – yes, it was at the end of the game and the game was probably already won – gives us real evidence that there’ll be opportunities for us to go after them.

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“If we can come away with four points or five points and give ourselves a chance to get up the table, we’d be delighted with that.”

Right-winger Ethan McVicar and substitute scrum-half Patrick Ritchie and replacement hooker Marcus Brogan scored tries for the Borderers, captained by Angus Runciman, in the capital at the weekend, with fly-half Callum Grieve adding a conversion.

Inside centre Angus Hunter, replacement Michael Liness, left-winger Jack Blain and scrum-half Seamus Smith at the double touched down for their hosts, with captain and fly-half Liam Richman kicking three conversions.

Looking back over Saturday’s match, Chisholm added: “Though the scoreboard doesn’t say so, I’m pretty happy with where we were defensively.

“We did relatively well at keeping some of their key players out of the game but there were always going to be opportunities for them in transition and when we failed to exit properly.”

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