Brighton sneak in for a last minute draw
Great game but a moments lapse of concentration sees Brighton score to draw level
Another week where we improved our performance to a higher level albeit that the last 5 minutes cost us dearly and was a reminder that we must play for the full 50 minutes.
The tackling today was our best all season and arguably our best for several seasons. Brighton had some very big players who were also mobile and played a very good offloading game to suit their size. They were also one of the strongest tackling teams we have played against. We threw the kitchen sink at them in forwards and backs and most teams would not have contained us as effectively.
There was a period where we jostled with them In the middle of the park and having kept them under pressure Tom capitalised with a fantastic interception.. Some great maturity and support saw players linking together to keep moving forward and after several phases crossing the line.
The scrums were always going to be tough with such a size differential but yet again we kept the scrum straight and with strong hooking managed to get retain our possession and clean ball was delivered to the backs. The forwards contested brilliantly and importantly never let Brighton succeed with their set piece moves more than once, learning how to contain their strength - it said it all to see their 6 ft 15 stone 2nd row icing his injuries in the bar afterwards.
Our distribution was much improved and the simple moves proved successful, our best try being straight hands with looping to support creating an overlap which the oppo for once could not deal with.
So what can we learn from today?
- where the opposition are bigger than us we cannot protect the ruck but must drive through and trust our scrum half to get the ball out quickly
- we are fitter than most teams but will only make this an advantage if we are alert and move quickly together .....on a couple of occasions we were ready to take a quick KO or penalty only for a lack of urgency and concentration from several players slowing us down and allowing the defence to reform. Learn from this as we do well when putting the other team on the back foot.
- we can beat anyone if we stick to our game plan and do not get intimidated by bigger players or declsions which do not go our way.
Man of the Match for his quick breaks, distribution and good tactical kicking goes to Max Smith( also nominated by the Brighton Coaches).
There will doubtless be some bruises to heal this week but keep fit and stretch off any aches and pains.
Crawley next week will be another physical challenge but one we are ready for.
Have a good week and we’ll have a good one hour warm up to work on improving our awareness off the ball to provide more numbers in support.