Dunfermline 29 Strathmore 17

CAINE MCINTYRE has praised his Dunfermline squad's work-rate after they got their season off to a flier on Saturday.

The McKane Park head coach said that he was encouraged by their pre-season preparations and the win over Strathmore that provided the ideal start to their BT Caledonia Division One campaign.

After beginning well and finding themselves with a 10-point lead, the visitors hit back to lead 12-10 at the interval but three second-half tries saw Dunfermline pull away to record a significant win over a team they lost three matches against last season.

While emphasising that his young squad were still learning, McIntyre told Press Sport: "Strathmore beat us three times last season so I'm really pleased to get the victory. The boys have taken on a lot of stuff that we've practised and we've worked a lot around our defence, which was really impressive at times on Saturday.

"We're a lot fitter than we were at this time last season, are more confident in taking the game to the opposition, and we attacked in the right areas.

"We are going to have ups and downs this season but we've got a group who are buying into what we're trying to do. I can see a difference in mentality and our skillset so it's been really encouraging so far.

"As a group, they've got that wee bit closer. As part of our pre-season we had a two-day camp in St Andrews; we trained on the Saturday and Sunday but had a few beers together in the evening. That was the first time a lot of the boys have experienced something like that and it helped some of them come out of their shell a wee bit.

"There were a couple of times on Saturday where we were under the cosh and that played a part. We were 10 points up at one stage and then they got it back to 12-10 and, given the season we had last year, it would've been easy to put the heads down. But the boys stuck at it, built up a good lead and saw the game out."

McIntyre added: "We had a bit of a crisis in our front row with a few boys being injured, a few offshore and one in the RAF, but the guys worked hard in pre-season and and we haven't really added too much in terms of experience. They've done everything we've asked of them and we've got some new boys in now as well.

"We've had a good start against tough opposition but we're hoping now to put a bit of consistency behind it."

Meanwhile, Fife Southern, who opened their Caledonia Division Three Midlands (South) campaign with a thumping 47-7 win over Alloa second XV, are sitting proudly top of the table after hammering Bo'ness 88-0 at Harley Street.

Kristofer Richards' side are again at home on Saturday against Grangemouth second XV, while Dunfermline head north to play Aberdeen Wanderers. Both games kick off at 3pm.