Currie fail to justify existing status

Currie 17 Boroughmuir 10
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The Independent Online
The size of the step that Scotland's top home-based players will be asked to take when the European Cup starts in less than a fortnight was brought sharply into focus at Malleny Park on Saturday.

The poor standard of play as Currie edged out Boroughmuir, mainly by virtue of some third-rate goal-kicking from the visitors, ought to have sent shudders through the domestic game, especially with the victors lying joint second in the table.

In the short term at least, Scotland will be represented in Europe by districts but the Scottish Rugby Union are sending representatives to Australia to examine a system which has produced quality club sides as well as three outstanding provinces feeding a national side which has won a World Cup.

Time, though, is running out and the lack of vision in preparing for the professional era is now coming home to roost with a vengeance north of the border.

Players appear increasingly weary of internal strifes but in seeking to bring strife to a head by refusing to sign contracts and calling for realistic fixture lists their actions are sometimes interpreted as mercenary.

For example Jim Telfer, director of rugby for Scotland, said at the weekend: "It saddens me greatly when I hear some people say publicly that the most important thing is to play for Scotland when, privately, money is what really motivates them."

Only a handful of Currie and Boroughmuir players rose above the mediocrity, among them Stuart Reid, now playing better than when he gained his only cap against Western Samoa last season. In struggling to turn possession and pressure into points Boroughmuir used three different goal-kickers in successive attempts, among them Nick Mardon, soon to join the London Broncos rugby league side.

Currie, meanwhile, have come too far in their 26-year history to accept the role of feeder to a district side. A number of close-season signings have arrived, among whom Dave Clarke stood out at No 8, while there is potential in their 6ft 9in English-born line-out jumper, Andy Lucking. But whether clubs like Currie have a future to justify the investment remains the subject of major debate.

Boroughmuir: Try Mardon; Conversion Wyllie; Penalty Mardon. Currie: Try Officer; Penalties Donaldson 2; Drop goals Donaldson 2.

Currie: M Thompson; G Kean, M Plumb (capt), D Wilson, D Officer; A Donaldson, D Rogerson; A Watt, G Ellis, C Black, A Lucking, M Blair, B Ward, D Clark, S Hardie.

Boroughmuir: N Mardon; S Reed, S Lineen, C Finnie, N Renton; D Wyllie, G Beveridge; R McNulty, K Allan, S Penman, D Burns, P Jennings, A Cadzow, S Reid (capt), R Kirkpatrick.

Referee: E Murray (Greenock Wands).

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