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Aberdeen Grammar leap to the defence to end losing run

Aberdeen Grammar vice-captain Doug Russell.
Aberdeen Grammar vice-captain Doug Russell.

Re-organising their defence has helped Aberdeen Grammar stop the rot in National 1.

That is the view of vice-captain Doug Russell, with Grammar coming into this weekend’s game against Cartha Queen’s Park on the back of their first win in five games.

Grammar won 35-12 away at second-bottom Hamilton last weekend, with the league’s basement side travelling to the Granite City tomorrow.

The Rubislaw outfit have been one of the top-scoring teams in National 1, with 310 points from nine games, but have shipped 244 in the same period.

Russell said: “One thing we’ve been working on is our defensive shape and last week, although we let an early try in we didn’t panic. We stuck with our shape and came back for the win. We defended very well in the second half and that side of our game seems to have improved.

“If you let in tries you don’t win games, it’s as simple as that. In a lot of our games we have scored a lot of points, but also conceded a lot as well.”

Grammar will have to cope without a number of key players this weekend due to prop Ross Anderson’s wedding, with Robin Cessford, Aaron Robertson and Tom Aplin also missing. Forward Matthias Schosser is absent as he remains on international duty with Germany.

Russell added: “This year we have had the advantage of having a much bigger squad. We’ve got guys that can step in and fill in, especially in the backs. They are all pretty versatile.”

The form of Chris Jollands has caught the eye this season, with the former Scotland under-19 cap returning from a serious neck injury to become a regular scorer again in the Grammar jersey.

Russell said: “He’s flying every week and it’s easier to count the games where he isn’t man of the match. He provides a really good platform and plays the game very smartly for someone so young. He always seems to score but remains level-headed.”

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