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Ross Sutherland head coach regrets going for penalty in defeat at Aberdeenshire

By Andrew Henderson

They say hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if John Mann could have the last few minutes of Ross Sutherland’s 29–26 defeat at Aberdeenshire back he would definitely do things differently.

John Mann converts for Ross Sutherland against Moray. Picture: Peter Carson
John Mann converts for Ross Sutherland against Moray. Picture: Peter Carson

The Stags travelled east knowing that they needed to pick up points to boost their Caledonia North Two survival bid, and with the scores level and full time fast approaching, they won a penalty.

It was on Aberdeenshire’s 22, but right out on the touchline. Mann kicked for the points to try and win, and missed.

He could not have expected what would happen next.

Their hosts would go up the pitch, win a penalty of their own, and score the decisive points with the last kick of the game.

“It was gutting, because it was our own fault,” Mann, who doubles up as Ross Sutherland’s head coach as well as playing, admitted.

“We were caught offside on our own 22, which gave them the kick to win it.

“We had a penalty on their 22 on the touchline a couple of minutes before the end and chose to go for the posts to win it, and I missed.

“In hindsight, we should have kicked for the corner and killed some time.”

That said, the performance as a whole was positive for Mann, who was forced into some late changes to his squad.

“We had a full squad on Thursday night at training, and then we picked up a couple of injuries and two boys called off sick on Friday,” he said.

“So we travelled with a depleted squad. On the bus down, I think a
lot of people were expecting the worst.

“But I’d say for even 40 or 50 minutes it was some of the best attacking rugby we’ve played all season.

“There was no pressure on the guys, we went in with a different attitude because of the depleted squad.”

Ross Sutherland continue their survival bid at Highland 2nds on Saturday, March 21.

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