Caithness 55 Dunfermline 6

DUNFERMLINE coach Caine McIntyre believes his young side deserved better as they went down to a heavy defeat at Caithness.

The promotion-chasing hosts ran in seven tries and a penalty try to wrap up a convincing bonus point win but the McKane men produced a spirited effort in difficult circumstances in the Highlands.

After a convincing 43-5 home win over RAF Lossiemouth the previous Saturday, Dunfermline were without the services of a number of their experienced players who featured in that game.

McIntyre told Press Sport: “The team up at Caithness was a young squad. I think the average age of the team was about 22 to 23 which for a rugby team is very young.

“For the first 20 minutes, we were still on the bus and lost three or four tries, but in the next 40, I think they scored one. We put a great effort in in defence but in the last 20 minutes, fitness and the physicality of the game told and they added a few more scores. It has been the story of our season – we either get beat by a lot or we win by a lot.

“But the nature of having a young group is that you’ll not get consistent performances. Only a handful of the boys who went up to Caithness have done the trip before, going up on the Friday night, so it was a new experience for them in terms of handling their food and water intake and their timings throughout the day. It’s something they can take forward but it’s frustrating from a coach’s point of view because I want to win but I also have to manage expectations of where we are.”

McIntyre, whose side play their last home game of the season against Highland on Saturday, continued: “It was the first time the squad had really been together outwith the team environment and it was visible to see that it brought them closer together; they know each other better and they can build on that experience. If this squad can stick together than it can be really exciting for the club in the next three or four years.

“This is a hard league that we’re in with a lot of big away games but, for me, sometimes players have to put the club and their rugby first. I appreciate people have young families or work shift patterns but this is the hobby we play. To get out of this league, we can’t give up bits and pieces and only play certain games and I have reiterated that to them.”

McIntyre added: “We have got two games left; Highland this weekend will be a tough game as they’re going for promotion as well, but this is our last home game of the season so we want to go out on a high.

“We might not have much to play for in terms of league standings, but we are playing for pride.”