ANYONE who went out to Millbrae on Saturday afternoon hoping to see a top-of-the-table FOSROC Super6 clash which was a symphony of open, attacking rugby, clearly didn't get the memo, writes Matt Vallance.

Super6 isn't about champagne rugby, it's about close matches, physicality and fine margins.

And if this game lacked swashbuckling back play, if you like an old-fashioned forwards' arm-wrestle, this one fitted the bill. It also turned on a single moment – when Bulls full-back Ollie Smith gambled, broke out of the defensive line to intercept a pass from Lewis Berg then galloped 95 metres, like John Wayne with half the Sioux nation on his heels, for Bulls' opening try.

Had Smith got it wrong, Watsonians' 10-0 half-time lead would have been 15-0, or maybe 17-0 and the Bulls might never have come back. As it happened, from the moment he scored, Bulls' hitherto playing second fiddle in the game, took charge on their way to victory.

The final result left the two sides tied on 23 points at the top of the table, but, by virtue of a plus-50 points difference, to Bulls' plus-48, the Edinburgh side will be the Christmas Number Ones and league leaders when hostilities resume in January, with the reverse fixture between the clubs at Myreside.

“Watsonians were very good in that first half, but, we made too-many systemic errors, against a side who will hurt you. Ollie's try was a massive momentum swing and after that, our pack just kept building pressure on them. However, we showed the right intensity, we survived the early loss of our captain and with five wins in a row, following our disastrous opening game, I think we are in a good place,” said coach Peter Murchie.

The only part of Bulls' game which held up in the opening 40 minutes of stop-start rugby – the first half actually lasted 48 minutes – was their defence. Lee Millar had goaled a ninth minute penalty, but, not until the very end of the half could the visitors breach the black and pink line, when Edinburgh's Fijian number eight Mesu Kunavula drove over for a try converted by Millar.

Then, two minutes into the second half, came Smith's lung-bursting breakaway try, which turned the game in Bulls' favour. The home pack began to turn the screw and a penalty try, which was entirely down to scrum pressure, put Bulls ahead, notwithstanding a second Millar penalty to restore the visitors' lead, there was only going to be one outcome.

Bulls seemed to be permanently encamped in the Watsonians' 22, but, it wasn't until a scrum, which was reset thrice, saw the visiting eight in reverse gear and Blair Macpherson picked-up to dot down, Ross Thompson converted and it was 129-13 to Bulls.

They still had to repel a Watsonians' thrust in post-hooter play before Bulls could celebrate a victory in a match which thoroughly merited its: 'game of two halves' cliché.'

The playing squad had their own private Christmas Party in the dressing room post-match, but, they will be back, fit and firing when hostilities resume, at Myreside, on January 18.

 Other Rugby

Tennent's Premiership



THIS six tries to one win at Stoneyhill leaves Marr in a very good place this Christmas – nine points clear at the top of the Tennent's Premiership table and seemingly on-course for a home semi-final in the play-offs in the spring.

However, they had to survive a fierce opening from their hosts, before the Marr Machine clicked into gear and they eased to victory.

Ollie Rossie got the scoring going with a typically breenging try in 18 minutes, converted by Colin Sturgeon. They quickly doubled their lead, Conor Bickerstaff putting a grubber through for brother Scott to touch down.

However, Marr were guilty of conceding silly penalties when 'Burgh pressed and, after a general warning, Josh Harvey was sent to the naughty step for 10 minutes.

Being a man down didn't hinder Marr too-much, however, and they managed to nullify the effects of the yellow card, before, with Harvey back on the field, more good work by the pack saw Rossi over for his second try, to make it 19-0 at the interval.

Just two minutes into the second half, Marr bagged the bonus point, Mackenzie Pearce, in the course of another terrific display, bullocking over, with Colin Sturgeon having a rare miss with the “sitter” of a conversion – hitting both posts and the bar before dropping on the wrong side.

Musselburgh weren't entirely out of things, however, finally getting a converted try on the board after 55 minutes. However, normal service was soon resumed, as a huge effort by the Marr pack shunts 'Burgh off their own ball and skipper Bickerstaff romps home for the try, which Sturgeon converts after an hour.

A somewhat unfair yellow card for Frazer Grant got the Marr pack worked up and following good charges by Will Farquhar and Pearce, Curran McMillan dived over for a 73rd minute unconverted try to complete the scoring and underline an emphatic win.

Plus points – one or two youngsters were blooded off the bench, Currie lost to give Marr a bit of breathing space at the top of the table.

Minus points – the penalty count was too-high, and Richard Dalgleish has, as our picture shows, lost his boyish good looks after sustaining a broken nose of Mike Tindall proportions.