Inter-district Championship 2023 | Round 2 Match Report
Caledonia Reds advanced to the final of the Inter-district Championship with a convincing 58-27 win over Glasgow & the West at Canal Park, Inverness on a day where the weather was nearly as glorious as the rugby.
Glasgow & the West got the scoring underway in the 2nd minute, after they were awarded a penalty for holding on in the ruck. Chris Hyde stepped up from 45 metres out on the left side, and had no difficulties with the length, slotting the ball through.
Hyde then had another go in the 4th minute, from almost the exact same spot on the other side of the pitch, and was equally comfortable as he doubled his side’s lead.
But it was Caledonia who got the first try, and took the lead with it in the 8th minute. After good build up play on the left, Adriu Muritoki made the break on the right and found James McCaig, who stepped inside his man from the touchline and ran round behind the posts.
And Caledonia grabbed the second try in the 11th minute. This time it was Max Wallace, who used his footwork to evade three defenders on the left from 5 metres out, and stretched for the line to finish.
The third score for the hosts came just three minutes later. Jake Mills made the initial break on halfway, and two phases later DJ Innes raced through a gap on the right side.
The West hit back with a try of their own in the 20th minute. After being withheld inches short of the line with penalty advantage, the visitors went back for the penalty and Fraser Grant tapped and went. The blindside was too strong for the defence and forced his way over.
Caledonia then grabbed a brilliant fourth score. With Callum Carson working space on the 22 in the middle of the pitch, the number 8 grubber kicked out to the left. Rupeni Rokoduguni gathered it on the dive right on the touchline and splashed down over the line.
Glasgow & the West hit back again in the 34th minute, just after Caledonia had received a yellow card for repeat infringements. Again it was Fraser Grant who scored off the back of a tap and go penalty five metres out.
Half time: Caledonia Reds 26-20 Glasgow & the West
Glasgow & the West made good ground in the early minutes of the second half as they tried to get back into the game, but a red card to Marck McCornick for head contact in the ruck in the 44th minute gave them serious work to do.
A penalty at the scrum in the 47th minute gave Liam Brims a chance to extend Caledonia’s lead from just outside the 22 on the right side. The fly-half dealt with the Highland wind to comfortably slot the ball through.
The home side were getting rewards at the scrum, and that platform gave Brims another attempt at goal in the 54th minute. This effort was from around 35 metres out on the left, and the result was the same.
And Brims soon had a try to add to his collection. The metres were made out on the right wing by Muritoki and McCaig, and Brims was put through a gap in midfield, dancing around two defenders to make the 15 metre run-in to the line.
Caledonia were starting to dominate possession and territory, and after a lengthy period in the West’s 22, it was DJ Innes who burrowed over from close range for his second score of the game in the 65th minute.
Another try followed for the hosts in the 69th minute. It was coast-to-coast as Muritoki gathered a loose ball in his own 22 and found Magnus Henry on the left, who raced in under the posts from just inside his own half.
And in the 73rd minute, the ball squirmed out of a ruck on Glasgow’s 22 and Oscar Baird was on hand to gather and race in for another Caledonia score.
Glasgow & the West got a try back in the 75th minute, as Max MacFarlane took a quick tap penalty and offloaded to Ewan Stewart, who did just enough to hold off the defence long enough to reach the line under the posts.
But it was Caledonia Reds’ day, and they advance to the final to play The South. For Glasgow & the West, they will face Edinburgh in the 3rd/4th playoff at Braidholm.
Full time: Caledonia Reds 58-27 Glasgow & the West
Caledonia Reds: 15. Adriu Muritoki 14. James McCaig 13. Max Wallace 12. DJ Innes 11. Rupeni Rokoduguni 10. Liam Brims 9. Harry Russell 1. Stephen Murray 2. Fraser Allan 3. Glen Brough 4. Jake Mills 5. Sean Blair 6. Oscar Baird 7. Sam Cardosi 8. Callum Carson
Replacements: 16. Archie Falconer 17. Euan Bissett 18. Jacon Ramsay 19. Callum MacPherson 20. Seumas Ross 21. James Imrie 22. Magnus Henry 23. Gordon Gregor
Glasgow & The West: 15. Chris Hyde 14. Ryan Flett 13. James Pinkerton 12. Conor Bickerstaff CO-CAPTAIN 11. Scott Bickerstaff 10. Gavin Cruickshanks 9. Fergus Johnston 1. Michael Downer 2. Paul Cairncross CO-CAPTAIN 3. Andrew Action 4. Max Crumlish 5. Adam Kerr 6. Fraser Grant 7. Ewan Stewart 8. Marck McCornick
Replacements: 16. Marc Ashdown 17. Michael Fox 18. Angus Troop 19. Dario Ewing 20. Max McFarlane 21. Gavin Cruickshanks 22. Sam Graham 23. Ben Frame