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Triple crown for classy Heriot's

A muted occasion, not a patch on those great final days of a few years ago, but the backdrop will have done nothing to dampen Heriot's celebrations as they joined the elite rank of clubs who have now won the RBS Cup three times.

Heriot's captain Jack Turley scores his try in the RBS Final against Glasgow Hawks at Broadwood Stadium Photograph: SNS
Heriot's captain Jack Turley scores his try in the RBS Final against Glasgow Hawks at Broadwood Stadium Photograph: SNS

They wobbled a little in the third quarter in the final against Glasgow Hawks, but their overall superiority was clear.

Heriot's pulled away at the end, looking more and more composed the longer the game went on. "We knew what we were trying to do," said coach Phil Smith. "In the first half we did it in bits, and at half-time there was a lot more shouting and swearing than you'd expect when you are leading 13-0. Thankfully, the boys stayed calm. We got back in it and people stepped up."

The Hawks might have finished just one place behind Heriot's in the RBS Premiership table, but they trailed the Edinburgh side by 21 points. And as the first quarter unfolded, that gap looked more like a gulf, Heriot's starting at a pace that the Hawks could not come close to matching.

While the first half ended with Heriot's 13-0 in front the scoreline did not even begin to measure their overall advantage. They were faster and sharper in possession, and they suffocated their opponents' strategies at birth as the Hawks struggled to get clean possession from the breakdowns. By rights, Heriot's should have been out of sight by the break.

They had certainly started well enough, with Graham Wilson clipping over a penalty after just a couple of minutes. However, a more serious statement of intent arrived just over 10 minutes later, when Heriot's moved the ball right inside their own half, and a beautifully disguised pass by full-back Colin Goudie found winger Harry Boisseau steaming up in support.

Boisseau still had the best part of 60 metres to cover, but he raced off at a lick the Hawks could not match and toppled over for his try a few moments later.

Goodness knows how the Hawks kept their line intact for the rest of that first period, for their defence was not a great deal more convincing than their misfiring attack. Gavin Lowe, the Hawks fly-half, struggled to impose any sort of order or shape on his side's game. And yet, all Heriot's could add before the interval was a conversion and second penalty by Wilson.

Hawks clearly needed something to beef up their game. And it duly arrived when the teams returned to the pitch after half-time in the beefy shape of Mateusz Bartoszek, their Polish international, who took over from Andrew Kirkland at No.8.

Bartoszek made his presence felt almost immediately. Suddenly, Hawks had power up front, and it was brought to bear in an early scrum, when the Hawks pack drove Heriot's clean off their own ball. A penalty resulted, duly converted by Jack Steele, but the effect on Hawks' confidence was probably greater than the boost on the scoreboard.

Hawks still trailed by 10 points, but they set the game's agenda for the next 10 minutes or so. With 51 minutes on the clock,they made their breakthrough with their try. It came from a series of powerful forward drives, in which Bartoszek figured prominently, and was delivered by tighthead prop Brendan Cullinane, who spun out of a ruck on the line to score between the posts.

Lowe converted, but the fire went out of Hawks almost as dramatically as it had arrived. With their lead cut to three points, Heriot's were roused from their 15-minute slumber and began to take control again. By the time the game reached the 70-minute mark, Wilson had stretched the scoreline to 19-10 with two more penalties. More significantly, Heriot's had turned the territorial battle on its head and were camped deep in the Hawks territory as the game went into its final passage.

At which point, Heriot's really turned the screws on their Glasgow opponents. As the Hawks tired, Heriot's captain Jack Turley blasted over from short range in the 76th minute to all but put the result beyond doubt, with Liam Steele adding Heriot's third try in the last move of the match to add an even more respectable edge to the final score. In truth, it was no more than they deserved.

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