Edinburgh-based side Currie ran out 38-21 winners against Swansea in a feast of open rugby at St Helen’s.
Currie mounted the first attack of the match with Andrew Binikos and James Johnstone combining in midfield but winger Barry Mansfield was unable to take the pass. Jamie Forbes had an opportunity to open the scoring for Currie when the Swansea defence crept offside in midfield but his effort fell short of the posts.
It was the home side that took the lead after 11 minutes with a Sam Davies penalty goal when the Currie pack failed to bind at a scrum. Nicky Thomas was desperately close to scoring out wide when Matt Torrance and Dan Baker made breaks but the chip ahead agonisingly beat him over the dead ball line.
Full back David Evans used his pace to break clear of the defence, sending a defender sprawling on the floor and Ben Davies almost sneaked over at the corner but the ball was lost forward. The home side got the first try from a lineout five metres out – the backs kept it basic and quickly swept the ball out wide for Evans to score on his debut. Sam Davies missed the conversion.
The Scottish side hit back five minutes later when Johnstone and Douglas Fife linked up to send scrum half Chris Leck over for a try. Forbes converted. Swansea extended their lead moments later though with a Sam Davies penalty after the visitors’ forwards piled into a ruck from the wrong side.
A superb break by lock Simon Marcel from his own twenty-two forced Matthew Norman to kill the ball and the prop was promptly yellow carded. Huge pressure on the Whites line by the Currie forwards finally told when lock Rob Verbarkel crashed over for a try. Forbes converted.
Fife and Mansfield sparked a breakaway for the visitors with Finlay Gillies providing support but the move broke down close to the try line. On the stroke of half time Forbes sprinted down the wing but was brought down by a last gasp tackle by Evans.
Half-time:- Swansea 11 Currie 14
Sam Davies equalled the scores early in the second half with a penalty when the Currie front row was forced upwards at a scrum. However it took the visitors just three minutes to regain the lead when the Swansea pack entered a ruck from the wrong side – Forbes kicked the penalty goal.
Currie’s backline began to flourish and at times Swansea were unable to lay a hand on them. Superb breaks by Johnstone and Forbes out of defence bamboozled the Whites’ defence and Leck raced in at the corner to score. Forbes converted.
Sam Davies had a chance to narrow the gap when the Swansea pack earned a penalty at the scrum but he pulled his effort wide of the posts. Mansfield took a quick free kick inside his own 22 and linked well with Leck who sprinted past a tiring Swansea defence to send replacement Tommy Seymour over for a try. Forbes converted.
Swansea used their huge advantage up front to grab a try back with Norman powering over from a lineout to score. Sam Davies converted. However it was Currie who had the final say when Thomas fumbled a pass inside the visitors’ twenty-two only for Johnstone to pounce and hack the ball forward. The defending Liam Price failed to deal with an awkward bounce which allowed Johnstone in for a fifth Currie try. Forbes converted.
Next up for Swansea is a trip to Doncaster in the British and Irish Cup while Currie host Nottingham in the same competition.
Full time:- Swansea 21 Currie 38
Referee:- Simon Harding
Weather:- Cloudy, 6C
Man of the match:- James Johnstone
Tries:- Evans (19), Norman (72)
Cons:- S Davies (73)
Pens:- S Davies (11, 26, 45)
Tries:- Leck (24, 50), Verbarkel (33), Seymour (55), Johnstone (78)
Cons:- Forbes (25, 34, 51, 56, 79)
Pens:- Forbes (48)
15 D Evans (rep: N Setaro 41)
14 L Williams
13 L Chance (rep: L Price 50)
12 S Watermeyer
11 N Thomas
10 S Davies
9 M Torrance
1 M Norman
2 P John
3 J Rees
4 B Davies (rep: A Gwynne 52)
5 R Kelly (rep: S Kiley 40)
6 O Pardoe (rep: C Cross 35)
7 S Lewis
8 D Baker
15 J Forbes
14 B Mansfield
13 D Fife
12 A MacMahon
11 J Johnstone
10 A Binikos (rep: T Seymour 50)
9 C Leck
1 J Cox
2 F Gillies (rep: S Cessford 71)
3 C Phillips (rep: R Merrilees 58)
4 S Marcel
5 R Verbakel
6 S Burton
7 M Peacock (rep: A Best 62)
8 R Weston
By Paul Hopkins