1st XV beat St Mary's, Melrose

1st XV beat St Mary's, Melrose

A terrific team performance!

1stXV beat St Mary’s, Melrose

With COVID at Belhaven putting pay to last week’s fixture, the team were keen to build on the excellent performance at Fettes the week before and continue to build our patterns of play as we head towards the big games of the season which come thick and fast after half term: Aysgarth and Sedbergh home and away and two more matches against Merchiston. Getting our systems in place now so that we are ready for these challenges to come has been the focus of our daily training sessions and it has been great to see players listening and working incredibly hard, always looking to improve and the team spirit and work ethic within this group of boys is tremendous.

During the week, our focus has been on our defensive systems, learning when to leave the ruck alone, when to flood the ruck and counter and when to try to jackal, communicating with each other and taking responsibility for the tackle; we have done lots of work playing with a reduced defence which has forced players to work even harder and the fact that we kept a clean sheet even when playing with just 8 v 13, conceding a try in the final play of the game, showed the benefit of tall his hard work. Getting these systems in place will be so important when we shall come up against more of an attacking threat after half term, but I was really pleased with what we achieved today with players talking to each other, making good decisions and not shirking their defensive duties.

It was an absolutely wonderful early autumnal afternoon with the sun blazing down and it was lovely to see so many parents back on the touchline again following the easing of Government restrictions. Hearing applause and encouragement certainly made for a terrific atmosphere and the large crowd were treated some very special rugby as we ran in twelve tries against a spirited St Mary’s side who never gave up, but who could not cope with the power, pace and speed at which we played for the whole 40 minutes.

I have to say that in all the years I have been coaching the 1stXV, I have seen few better team performances, playing such attractive free flowing rugby. Yes, we have some titanic games against English schools over the years, nip and tuck and had to dig deep to get the result, but despite the opposition lacking the fire power to compete with us today, we still played some outstanding rugby, recycling the ball time after time after time, making good decisions as to whether to off load or go to ground and then moved the ball out in to the wide channels running excellent lines to outwit the opposition defence. The fact that all our 12 tries were scored by the backs says a lot: we moved the ball really incisively and with real skill and flair after so much good work up front in the build up. We won a lot of turnover ball with the forwards rucking with real pace at the breakdown and we jackaled intelligently too giving away very few penalties which bodes well for the rest of the season. It was a mightily strong performance from the forwards and it would be invidious to pick out individuals on what was a real team effort.

We were a step up from our last game against Fettes when it took us just a wee while to hit our straps, whereas today we were out of the blocks very fast indeed from the off, almost scoring after keeping the ball for two or three minutes from the kick off. It was very entertaining to watch, and the whole team can be very proud of the way we were so ruthless and clinical and did not take our foot off the gas even when I took half the team off for the final ten minutes – this is the lesson we need to take from this game: the intensity which we played for the whole match, never once sitting back thinking the job was done. If anything, we worked even harder when we were down to just 8 players, still going through the phases and creating space out wide using the ball at pace and showing great footwork and ball speed through the hands. Well done all of you.

Yes, sterner challenges lie ahead, of course. However, we are building nicely and with one game left up at Ardvreck next week before half term, I know we shall want to finish what has been a hugely impressive first half of the season in fine style, and with a number of boys having been taken off early today, I know they will be chomping at the bit next week!

Thank you to Mr Pounder from Glenalmond who came down to referee – almost two years to the day since he last refereed!

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Cargilfield where everyday is an adventure

Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.

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