CLUB RUGBY

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STU­ART BATH­GATE

WAT­SO­NI­ANS pre­served the only un­beaten record in Su­per6, beat­ing Bor­ough­muir Bears 28-10 in poor con­di­tions at Myre­side to make it four wins from four matches. They were 10 points ahead at one point in the first half be­fore be­ing pegged back to a lead of just three at the break, but then dom­i­nated a sec­ond 40 in which the Bears failed to score.

“They man­aged the ter­ri­tory bet­ter,” Bor­ough­muir coach Gra­ham Shiel said af­ter a three-tries-to-one de­feat which sees his team fall from third to fifth. “We had some good at­tack­ing play, but it’s very dif­fi­cult when you’re 75, 80 me­tres out to at­tack and score from there.

“When we cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties we take them well, so it’s hard to be crit­i­cal, and con­di­tions were re­ally dif­fi­cult to­day. How­ever, Wat­so­ni­ans man­aged the con­di­tions bet­ter.”

The teams meet again next week­end, and Wat­so­ni­ans coach Fer­gus Pringle is tak­ing noth­ing for granted de­spite the way his side con­trolled most of this game.

“In the first half we played re­ally well into the wind,” he said. “I thought our scrum worked well. It wasn’t the per­fect per­for­mance, and at times we tried to force the ex­tra pass, which let them off the hook. But Bor­ough­muir are a good side and they stay in the fight. We’ve got plenty to work on and it will be a dif­fer­ent story next week when we head across the road to Megget­land.”

Mor­gan In­ness, Har­ri­son Court­ney and Camp­bell Wil­son got the tries for the lead­ers, with cap­tain Lee Mil­lar con­tribut­ing two con­ver­sions and three penal­ties. The Bears’ points came from a Glen Faulds try and a Kyle McGhie con­ver­sion and penalty.

Sec­ond-placed Ayr­shire Bulls kept up the chase on Wat­so­ni­ans with an 8-0 win at Stir­ling County. A Ross Thomp­son penalty was the only score of the first half, and although that did not look enough of a lead to take into a sec­ond half in which they had the wind in their faces, the Bulls weath­ered the storm then got the clinch­ing score 10 min­utes from time with a Nico Grif­fiths try.

“We learned that we have got some guts,” Ayr­shire coach Peter Murchie said. “We can dig it out.”

For County coach Ben Cairns it was a ques­tion of missed op­por­tu­ni­ties. “I thought we were in a good po­si­tion at half time at 3-0 down,” he said. “It was a strong wind in that sec­ond half but we didn’t get a chance to get into the right ar­eas of the pitch to re­ally st­ing them.”

The South­ern Knights, mean­while, are still look­ing for their first win af­ter los­ing 12-19 to He­riot’s.

“He­riot’s man­aged the game pretty well,” Knights coach Rob Chrystie said. “We were only out of our half twice in the first half.”

At least the Knights scored on one of those oc­ca­sions, and led 7-0 at half time through a Joseph Jenk­ins try con­verted by Ja­son Bag­gott, but in the sec­ond half He­riot’s took over. A penalty try plus fur­ther scores from Jack Blain and Michael Li­ness put them in com­mand be­fore a late Bag­gott try gave the home team the con­so­la­tion of a los­ing bonus.

“I felt we were the team try­ing to play with width in the game and on an­other day we would have scored a num­ber of tries,” He­riot’s coach Phil Smith said. “In the sec­ond half our game man­age­ment was su­perb and our de­fence was as well.”

All five games in the Premier­ship were tight af­fairs. The big­gest mar­gin of vic­tory was at Mans­field Park, where Haw­ick main­tained their im­pres­sive form by beat­ing Cur­rie Chief­tains 20-14. The re­sult takes Haw­ick into third, while the los­ing bonus at least en­sured sec­ond-placed Cur­rie did not lose any ground on lead­ers Marr, who were sur­prise 17-15 losers at home to GHA.

Selkirk also got an away win, beat­ing Aberdeen Gram­mar 16-14 to climb above their hosts into fourth, while Jed-For­est won 16-15 at Glas­gow Hawks, a re­sult that still leaves Jed em­broiled in a relegation bat­tle, along with Ed­in­burgh Ac­cies and bot­tom club Mus­sel­burgh, who drew 28-28.

WEEKS of pro­mo­tional hype and po­lit­i­cal out­rage ended in An­thony Joshua eas­ing past an op­po­nent who had barely both­ered to train as the so-called “Clash on the Dunes” drifted into an­ti­cli­max on a Saudi Ara­bian Satur­day night.

A fo­cused and dis­ci­plined back-foot per­for­mance from the 30-year-old Bri­ton wrested back his world heavy­weight ti­tles by unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion over a woe­fully out-of-shape Andy Ruiz Jr.

A large pro­por­tion of the coun­try’s 59mm an­nual rain fall dumped it­self on the arena in the hours lead­ing up to its head­line con­test, but in the end it was the fight it­self that proved a wash-out as Joshua picked and prod­ded his way to a vic­tory which ap­peared se­cure long be­fore the three judges handed down their 118-110 (twice), 119-109 landslide ver­dicts.

“Maybe I could have done more at times but sim­plic­ity is ge­nius,” said Joshua, who picked up a Bri­tish record purse in ex­cess of £60m for a win which places him back at the top of the heavy­weight ta­ble. “I took it back to the old school, ’70s style, and out­classed the cur­rent cham­pion.

“There was a time when I looked into Andy’s eyes and wanted to put my fist through his head. But then I thought, this is boxing, it’s not wrestling. This is real life, it’s dan­ger­ous.”

Ruiz had weighed in more than a stone heav­ier than for their first meet­ing, and the Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can was bru­tally hon­est af­ter the fight.

“I should have trained harder and lis­tened to my team,” he said. “Maybe if I hadn’t put on all this weight would have been faster.

“He was boxing his life out and there are no ex­cuses.”

Ruiz’s calls for a third meet­ing are al­most cer­tain to be re­jected as Joshua moves to clean up one of two out­stand­ing manda­tory de­fences against Olek­sandr Usyk or Kubrat Pulev.

“I’m just go­ing to let the path take its course,” said Joshua. “[But] when the op­por­tu­nity presents it­self to be­come undis­puted heavy­weight cham­pion of the world, I’ll def­i­nitely step up and take the chal­lenge.”

I

Fer­gus Pringle says his team have plenty to work on

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