Fitness was a key factor for Selkirk RFC to work on this week as they looked for a quick return to the winning trail.
The Souters were hugely disappointed to go down 22-25 to Dundee HSFP at Philiphaugh last Saturday, in a game which saw some Jekyll and Hyde-type rugby from both sides.
Selkirk clawed back a 20-point deficit in the first half to lead 22-20, but succumbed to a solitary Dundee try in the second half, meaning the points sailed from the River Tweed to the River Tay.
Manager Tom Ramage said fitness had been affected by games lost to the disruptive December weather and the festive break, so that would be a big priority in training this week, ahead of the BT National League One visit to Falkirk tomorrow (Saturday).
“We gave them (Dundee) too much of a start,” he reflected. “Within 15 minutes, we were 20 points down. We just didn’t start the first half at all until about 20 minutes in.
“It was down to them coming at us really, really hard,” he added.
“The first try was in under two minutes – they just ripped the ball off one of our players and ambled over the line. That was the start of it.
“We were on the back foot for the first 20 minutes and, in the last 20 minutes of that half we scored 22 points!”
The instruction at half time was to cut down on mistakes and conceding penalties, which cost Selkirk a lot of yardage.
“We finished off the first half with 22 points and I wanted more of that, but we couldn’t get hold of the ball consistently,” said Ramage.
“We had a chance to draw the game with a penalty kick and make it 25-25 but, like Dundee did in September, we chose to go for the glory and it backfired on us.”
Selkirk were indeed 20-0 down, following Dundee’s whirlwind start, before Darren Clapperton got them going with a try, converted by Rory Banks.
Next came a try from Frazer Anderson, with Banks converting again, to make it 14-20, and Banks added a penalty goal to nudge Selkirk even closer.
The home side then moved ahead through a try from Josh Welsh, but, perhaps crucially, the extras could not be added this time.
With no fresh injuries to the squad, Selkirk would be targeting a win tomorrow at Sunnyside, against a team without a victory all season.
However, Falkirk were capable of scoring points, said Ramage. The Souters ran in five tries against them earlier in the season but Falkirk hit back and scored four of their own, he added. On Saturday, Falkirk found some good form against Gala, despite going down 38-12.
“We just have to be wary of Falkirk’s strong defence,” said Ramage. “They have quite a big pack, so we just have to be on top of our game again.
“We are quite happy with our set pieces just now – we just have to work hard in training and see how it goes on Saturday.”