Callum Kerr @ Millbrae


The Ayrshire Bulls kicked off their FOSROC Super6 title defence last night with a 33-17 victory over old foes Heriots. Despite a flattering score line, it was a game that could have gone either way, with the Bulls trailing for much of the contest. At 14-17 down and a man in the bin Pat MacArthur’s men were in trouble, but a heroic defensive shift halted Heriots from registering a single point in the second half. The Bulls weathered an onslaught before a trio of tries thrusted them to victory.


The game played out in front of a packed-out Millbrae, and after an underwhelming sprint series earlier in the year the victory reminded the fans of what this group is capable of.

(Photo – SNS//Scottish Rugby)

Naturally, Pat MacArthur was all smiles at full-time: “I’m delighted with how we performed, particularly in that second half. At the break we had an honest discussion on our discipline and cheap turnovers, if you continue to do that, you’re giving opportunities to the opposition.


“I think in that second half there was a real turning point of a good seven-minute defensive set on our try line with no penalties whilst we had 14 men. That showed a lot of character. It’s what we are trying to pride ourselves on – not just an attacking brand of rugby”.


Previously there’s been a lot of change in personnel throughout the Super6 teams since their inception, but the Bulls squad has started to settle and much of last year’s winning side steadied the ship last night. Players such as Blair Macpherson, Ed Bloodworth, Jordan Lenac and Bobby Beattie are all familiar to the Millbrae faithful and performed valiantly when the team were stuck in the trenches.


Of the new boys who joined in the off-season three made their debuts. Will Hunt and Archie Smeaton were on the pitch from the first whistle, whilst James Malcolm entered the fray in the second half – marking his return to Millbrae with a brace of tries that proved vital in the victory. Reflecting on their maiden performances, MacArthur said the following: “Credit to them all.


“Will Hunt. He stuck to his systems, stuck to the game plan and grew in confidence as the match went on.


“Big Archie is going well. He’s a physical man and I think as he gets used to the systems and the way of Ayr he’ll develop into a better and better player”.


“Jimmy (Malcolm) made a massive impact when he came on. Those two rolling maul tries were credit to the set-piece… We changed our full front row at half-time which I’d planned, and it is a massive testament to our strength in depth. All six of those guys played brilliantly”.


There was an array of men who could have walked away with a FOSROC Player of the match medal but it was captain Blair Macpherson who picked up the official honours – You’d struggle to argue against his selection. The colossus is known for his swashbuckling carries and bruising contacts, but it was his work in the shadows that separated him from the rest. The skipper got through a mountain of work across the eighty minutes and lead by example when his side needed inspiring.


The Bulls now travel to Edinburgh to face Sprint Series champions Watsonians next Saturday. Any betting man would imagine these two will be in the hunt come the business end of the tournament, so it’ll be a good measure of where both sides are at. The action kicks-off at 14.00.