Rugby Union: Corcoran calls all the right shots: Gala gather in the points

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The Independent Online
Gala . . . . . .35

Heriot's FP. . .28

FOSTER'S quantum leap from assisting the crack schoolboy side Dollar Academy to calling the coaching shots at First Division Heriot's is proving to be a supreme challenge. Time is ticking away for Heriot's who, along with two other teams, have never been out of the First Division.

The longer they remain pointless the greater the danger of nerves and tightness further inhibiting their performances. Yet on Saturday there were signs of recovery in a match so full of spectacular scores and unforced errors it could have been taking place in Serie A of the Italian football league. To pull back deficits of 0-16, then 9-23 to finish pressing showed admirable spirit.

Cameron Glasgow, the Cambridge Blue who has been shunted all around the backs, unquestionably used this match to prove he is best left in his preferred position of stand-off. Up front, John Robertson and Andy Macdonald are regaining the form that earned them places on Scotland's summer tour of Australia.

One acute problem for Heriot's is a lack of height at the line-out tail, where Gala cashed in through the accurate throwing of Ian Corcoran, benefiting from calm, dry conditions. There is no more determined player around than Corcoran, a hooker for whom Scotland's aforementioned tour was a bittersweet experience.

After travelling as Kenny Milne's understudy, Corcoran made a cap debut as a replacement in the first Test. A week later, he had suffered the acute indignity of being ditched for a player flown out and capped with what seemed at the time to be indecent haste.

The reason given, that extra scrummaging bulk was required, brought wistful looks from the Australian front row when the situation was put to them and now Corcoran is dedicated to proving his worth on the international scene. 'I didn't play badly in that Australian Test,' a still bemused Corcoran said. 'That's why I'm really going for it right now.'

For all that Gala were out-scrummaged, the impression was that the bustling Corcoran will either achieve his goal or else give Saturday's rival, Kenny Milne, a strong push towards the Lions tour party. Corcoran was Gala's most effective forward, but their main threat came from among the backs where the discovery of last season, the 19-year-old Gregor Townsend, is learning to vary his play and kick with much greater authority.

With three successive wins behind them, Gala can claim to have translated the form shown when defeating England at the recent Selkirk Sevens into 15-a-side and the shock setback for Melrose at Stirling County means they share the outright lead with Jed-Forest.

A stern test awaits next week at Edinburgh Academicals, when Corcoran will again have much to prove in direct opposition to Martin Scott, the hooker who usurped him so controversially Down Under during the summer.

Gala: Tries Laing, Turnbull, Tod, Farquharson; Conversions Dods 3, Penalties Dods 3. Heriot's: Tries Robertson, Watt, Murray; Conversions Glasgow 2; Penalties Glasgow 3.

Gala: M Dods; M Moncrieff, J Turnbull, B Swan, J Maitland; G Townsend, G Farquharson; G Isaac, I Corcoran (capt), A Scott, J Laing, D Gilchrist, D Little, G Shepherd, M Tod.

Heriot's: H Murray; R McLean, R Adam, A McRobbie, K Whittaker; C Glasgow, A Watt; M Livingstone, K Milne (capt), S Paul, P Meadows, A Macdonald, S Lessels, K Rafferty, J Robertson.

Referee: D Leslie (Manchester).

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