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We stand by decision to turn down three points
10:30am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Sport
IT was a big decision to kick for the corner rather than going for the posts in the latter stages of our 9-9 Amlin Challenge Cup draw with Oyonnax — but Paul Warwick and I stand by it.
In the last 10 minutes of the game, we had absorbed loads of pressure on our line and they were getting the upper hand with their driving maul.
Paul and I were the on-field decision-makers and we felt if we put the ball to the corner instead of going for the posts, it would be difficult for them to go all the way down field in those conditions to score.
We decided to try to run down the clock with three minutes left. Our thinking was that if we kicked the penalty, although we would be six points ahead, they would have the ball back and the chance to go down field and maybe score a converted try in the last few minutes to win the game.
The issue was we lost our line-out and they were able to clear up-field, before we lost another line-out, which gave them the field position to ultimately win the penalty and draw the game.
The problem was that, in the last 10 minutes, we lost four out of five of our own line-outs and we need to look at that.
It wasn’t just losing the line-outs, one was not straight and then we were penalised for blocking at the next one — it was one thing after another.
However, the performance on the whole was a really positive display from the lads. We have struggled a bit in the last few weeks and have not been transfering what we’ve done in training onto the pitch, so the pleasing thing was to see us applying a lot more of the structure and things we’ve been working on.
Oyonnax are a difficult side to beat at home and they have claimed some big scalps in the Top 14 already, so it was by no means an easy game.
Our lads did well, especially the younger guys like Ben Howard at full-back and Rich de Carpentier on the flank. It was just a shame in terms of the last 10 minutes when we had to absorb loads of pressure and couldn’t quite hang on for the win.
We have made strides forward in terms of possession, but we still weren’t able to deal with the pressure at the end and that is because we have lost our first few games of the season, we don’t have that winning mentality at the moment.
Centre Dean Hammond started the game and he has been a breath of fresh air since joining us — he is quite robust and has real gas too, but off the field he is great too and is just very positive and enthusiastic.
All of the Argentine lads have joined up with us now and they will bring a lot to the side. Often with new players coming in, especially in the forwards, there can be a language barrier with things like learning the new calls.
However, that has not been a problem and they’ve adapted really well, but that is because they are all international players and have intelligent rugby brains — they will have a positive impact on our side.
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