Tennent’s Men’s Premiership Final 2023 | Hawick v Currie Chieftains Match Report
Hawick have sealed a historic Premiership champion victory, edging a win from Currie in the dying moments of the game to claim their first title in 21 years in hallow grounds of Mansfield Park (21-18).
Currie Chieftains made their presence in a packed-out Mansfield know early in, as they claimed the opening points of the match within just four minutes.
A break through the Hawick defence from stand-off Jamie Forbes took the visitors deep into the opposition 22. A series of penalty infringements from the hosts allowed Currie the opportunity for three, which were taken and secured by Forbes at close range.
Hawick were quickly able to settle the score with their own penalty, taken by full-back Kirk Ford after Currie’s Gregor Christie was shown yellow by referee Matthew Todd, following Jae Linton’s physical carrying from beyond halfway deep into Currie’s territory.
Currie were awarded another penalty some 10 minutes later when Hawick was penalised for holding on. Once again they opted for the sticks, and Forbes contributed another three to retake a narrow lead.
Just before the first quarter, a forward pass from Hawick’s Greg Cannie who was looking to reach his winger led to the first scrum of the game. Retaining the ball, Currie’s Charlie Brett nudged the ball through and the two sides began a chase to the whitewash. Hawick won the foot race, grounding the ball, ending Currie’s chance for five.
But just five minutes later, the visitors got their way. An incredible line break from Currie’s loose-head Chris Anderson, began their pursuit of five. With the ball reaching DJ Innes, the centre powered his way closer to the try line before offloading to Iain Sim, who sailed across the whitewash in the corner. Forbes was unable to convert.
From the restart Currie were unable to gather cleanly, and so the first in a series of scrums were set in Hawick’s favour. After a number of attempts to get across the line, Currie’s strong defensive effort continued to keep them out.
As the clock wound down Hawick were on the hunt for their first try. The men in green did well to gain ground as they swung like a pendulum across the pitch, and they came close on a number of occasions including an attempt to maul from a line out at close range, but the Hawick men were held up.
However, in the dying moments of the first half, a second chance at a five-meter line out was handed to the Borders side, and this time executed to perfection. Although Kirk Ford was unable to convert, the hosts had significantly narrowed the deficit, taking it to within three.
Half-time: Hawick 8 Currie Chieftains 11
Both sides were galvanised and ready for the next forty, and looked to come out the blocks quickly. Jamie Forbes’ high tackle on hooker Fraser Renwick saw Hawick awarded a penalty. With the incident happening within Ford’s range, the Borders outfit saw the opportunity to strike another three, and just two minutes into the second half the score was once again drawn.
Another yellow card was shown, this time to Hawick’s Dalton Redpath after his tackle on Kody McGovern was deemed dangerous by the referee.
An unfortunate trip for McGovern who was in pursuit of the try line ended up with Hawick regaining possession. Some hard and physical graft, despite being a man down, Hawick found themselves within touching distance of the try line but a cover tackle from Brett shut down their opportunity.
Soon after, a penalty in favour to Hawick with Currie deemed to be holding on, Ford once again lined up for a chance to retake the lead. The ball sailed through and Hawick were now up by three.
A tense fifteen minutes of rugby followed as Currie looked to turn things around. Several attempts at the line were knocked back by Hawick, who’s defensive efforts were on top form. However, with Redpath shown another yellow card, the lock was off the pitch for good, giving Currie a one-man advantage.
After some time spent in Currie’s 22, Hawick looked to nudge the ball deeper into their territory but the ball was charged down by Currie and another foot race began as the men in black got closer to the line. In the drama to the line, a dangerous tackle from stand-off Kyle Brunton saw another yellow card drawn, with Hawick down to 13 men.
Currie were awarded a scrum just five-meters out, and with the ball retained, they quickly shipped the ball through the back line for winger Kody McGovern to cross the line for a try. Forbes added the extras and the visitors regained the lead, with just six minutes left on the clock.
Hawick were not satisfied by this, and their response, with the roars of Mansfield saw the home side fight for another try. After several phases of carries from the forward pack, Hawick’s Ronan McKean was calling for the ball wide. Finally reaching him, he soared across the whitewash to retake the lead. Ford closed out the game with a conversion, to solidify their championship win.
Matty Douglas now becomes the youngest Head Coach in Scottish Rugby history to win a Men’s Premiership championship.
Full-time: Hawick 21 Currie Chieftains 18
15. Kirk Ford 14. Charlie Welsh 13. Ethan Reilly 12. Andrew Mitchell 11. Ronan McKean 10. Kyle Brunton 9. Hector Patterson 1. Shawn Muir CAPTAIN 2. Fraser Renwick 3. Nick Little 4. Connor Sutherland 5. Dalton Redpath 6. Stuart Graham 7. Calum Renwick 8. Jae Linton
16. Matt Carryer CO-CAPTAIN 17. Ruaridh MacLeod 18. Ross Graham 19. Lewis Ferguson 20. Gareth Welsh 21. Grant Huggan 22. Shaun Fairbairn
15. Charlie Brett 14. Kody McGovern 13. DJ Innes 12. Greg Cannie 11. Iain Sim 10. Jamie Forbes 9. Gregor Christie 1. Chris Anderson 2. Ryan Stewart 3. Cairn Ramsay 4. Will Inglis 5. Ewan Stewart 6. Ali McCallum 7. Gregor Nelson 8. Rhys Davies CAPTAIN
16. Jamie Drummond 17. Jacob Ramsay 18. Arran Cameron 19. Michael Vernel 20. Patrick Boyer 21. Adam Hall 22. James McCaig
Referee: Michael Todd
AR 1: Fergus Hollins
AR 2: Mary Pringle