Edinburgh infusion helps put limitations on Leeds

Line out action from the match
Line out action from the match
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The scoreline was certainly a tad more palatable to Gala supporters than the numerical imbalance back in October when the Maroons surrendered 86 points.

All of which suggests that the decision to fortify the Netherdale side with an infusion of Edinburgh players was the right one and one that should be a pointer to future involvement in the British and Irish Cup.

But if you talk to many of the Gala fans you get the impression that amateur club sides against fully professional outfits simply does not work.

Their formula would be along the lines of Irish sides in the B&I Cup, modelling the likes of Munster A and Ulster Ravens. Were that to be adopted in Scotland then Edinburgh and Glasgow could enter A teams which could involve amateur club players.

Gala’s coach George Graham, however, insists that it is good for his players to face tougher tests.

He told The Southern: “It’s very important for our players to play at a higher level. And I think a lot of them benefitted from that today.”

But Graham was quick to acknowledge the benefit of having a clutch of Edinburgh players in his side. The presence of the pros meant that the Gala players were able to compete against a Leeds side intent on smashing their way to victory through powerful forward play. Against this, back-from-injury prop Ewan McQuillan, fellow front row Rory Sutherland, flankers Steve Cairns and Gary Graham showed up well in the pack, while behind the scrum Gregor Mein at stand-off continues to look a good prospect and Craig Dods at full back coped well.

Gala’s defence, particularly in the first half when Leeds enjoyed 95 percent territorial advantage, limited Leeds to a 8-0 half-time lead from a driven line-out try by flanker Jarad Williams and a penalty from stand-off Glyn Hughes.

With Harry Leanard and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne coming off the bench for the second half Gala looked lively, but it was Leeds who powered their way to further scores with a penalty try before using brute force for a touchdown by flanker Chris Walker, Hughes converting both.

Gala had their moment of glory with a penalty try converted by Leonard after Leeds collapsed a driving maul, but the visitors collected their bonus point with a late try by replacement Craig Hampson and the conversion by Hughes.