Glasgow Caledonians 10

Edinburgh Reivers set themselves up as favourites to win the Tennent's Velvet Super District tri-series after drawing level with a stylish win over Glasgow Caledonians in front of a crowd of 2000 at Rubislaw yesterday.

Ian Rankin, the Reivers coach, as stunned as anyone by the size of his side's victory, modestly put it down to good fortune. He said: ''Today was one these days when everything worked.''

Rankin, who has had wins on his last three visits to Rubislaw, added: ''We believed we could win today, but we did not expect to do so by this margin. The Reds scrum was on top in the opening period, but we got two opportunities and we scored from both of them.''

The truth was that Reivers were much superior behind the scrum, where their clever running and support play ensured that possession would be turned into points.

It was by any standards a wretched day for Glasgow Caledonians, made worse by the loss of full back Glenn Metcalfe, who was stretchered off with what at first appeared to be a knee ligament tear but which was later diagnosed as a strain.

Everything seemed to go wrong and, so palpably awry was the Reds passing, that, as against Pontypridd last month, it was far below the standard one would expect from a Super District side. Indeed, it contrasted sharply with the crispness of the Reivers ball transference.

In which context Reivers had a massive advantage at scrum half, where Bryan Redpath gave an inspired display in his first full game back for his district team. Fittingly, Redpath received the man-of-the-match award and one might guess that his half back partner, Craig Chalmers, would have been the first to give him a vote.

Chalmers, whose line-kicking was exemplary, benefitted enormously from the accurate Redpath service to post a performance that had authority written large.

However, what gave the Reivers such a big advantage was that all their backs played with the confidence they showed against Toulouse earlier this month.

Once again, Jamie Mayer showed bustle in midfield to complement the skills of Alan Tait, Cammie Murray had invention and pace on the left wing, and Tony Stanger demonstrated the art of taking chances, while another to impress was Hugh Gilmour, who revelled in the running game.

Among the forwards, Cammie Mather's driving play paid dividends, new recruit Martin Leslie quickly adapted to Reivers' style of play, and Iain Fullarton did much to neutralise any line-out advantage that the Reds might have been perceived to have.

In the Reds pack, Stuart Grimes secured some priceless line-out possession, Tom Smith showed a welcome return with several deft touches in the loose play, and Jason White gave further signs that he is improving with every game.

Reivers' early pressure from a perfectly placed kick off by Chalmers brought instant reward as the stand-off landed a second-minute penalty goal and, minutes later, the Melrose man was in a move that led to a try for Tait, the centre taking the well-timed scoring pass from Stanger.

Chalmers, in impressive form, then added a penalty goal to put his side 11 points clear of the Reds, who suffered a blow when Metcalfe was stretchered off and replaced by Alan Bulloch. However, they did get reward for their territorial gains with a penalty goal by Tommy Hayes, their first points of the match.

Reivers, however, were not long in reasserting themselves, their next points coming from a chip ahead by full back Stuart Lang from Mather's line-out possession, which resulted in a try for Stanger, Chalmers converting.

Just before half-time, Reivers struck again, with a move started in their own 22-metre area with a quick tap penalty by Bryan Redpath. Chalmers supported, Murray and Lang carried the move on downfield, before Tait steamed up to take the pass and score under the posts, leaving Chalmers with an easy conversion kick.

Reivers, playing into the stiff breeze in the second half, soon added to their points total when a break by Jamie Mayer gave Murray room to squeeze past Shaun Longstaff for a try in the corner.

Reds, however, finally got on the try sheet when Hayes touched down from a quickly taken tap penalty, and he added the conversion.

From then on, it was all Reivers as substitute Duncan Hodge converted his own try, before new recruit Martin Leslie got into the try-scoring act with a touchdown in the corner.

Reivers, their confidence sky-high, completed the rout with an eightieth-minute score made by a powerful run from substitute Hugh Gilmour and finished by Stanger to give the international wing his second try of the match and perhaps a hoist up in the ratings that may see him return to the national squad.

Glasgow Caledonians - G Metcalfe (A Bulloch, 32min); J Craig, I Jardine, R Shepherd (D Stark, 48), S Longstaff; T Hayes, F Stott; T Smith, K McKenzie, W Anderson (G McIlwham, 62), S Campbell (G Perret,t 62), S Grimes, J White, R Wainwright, M Waite (J Shaw, 74).

Edinburgh Reivers - S Lang (H Gilmour, 64); T Stanger, J Mayer, A Tait (I Fairley, 71), C Murray; C Chalmers (D Hodge, 57), B Redpath; R McNulty (P Wright, 69), G McKelvey (S Brotherstone, 64), B Stewart, D Burns, I Fullarton, C Mather, B Renwick (M Leslie 41), I Sinclair (A Roxburgh, 69).

Referee - D Mene (France).

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 0-3,0-8, 0-11, 3-11, 3-18, 3-25 (half time); 3-30, 10-30, 10-37, 10-42, 10-47.

Scorers: Glasgow Caledonians: Try - Hayes (56min). Conversion - Hayes (56). Penalty - Hayes (36) Edinburgh Reivers: Tries - Tait (17,40), Stanger (38,81), Murray (44), Hodge (65), Leslie(70) Conversions - Chalmers (38,40), Hodge(65). Penalties - Chalmers (2,24).