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Disgraceful first-half performance is not good enough
10:30am Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in Sport
THE way we performed in the first-half of our Amlin Challenge Cup match with Sale Sharks at Sixways was bordering on disgraceful.
At the moment, the very difficult thing for us is that it feels like we make improvements like we did in Oyonnax, which was definitely two steps forward, but then we play like we did in the first 40 minutes against Sale and that was shocking.
As players, we have to be brutally honest and there is nobody we can blame but ourselves and we just need to look in the mirror. There was always going to be a reaction after half-time when we were trailing by 21 points, but for us to turn up like that as the home team is just not good enough.
The two major points were the scrum, which had been improving over the last two weeks, and driving line-out — they completely bossed us in those areas.
We certainly haven’t got a bad scrum, but the way we scrummaged was poor to say the least. We didn’t front up in the two areas of the game where you should always have a stranglehold, especially when you’re at home.
We failed to dominate and that gave the dominance to them. If you look at the second-half, we did well for 20 minutes, came back into the game and, at one point, it looked like we could go on to win, but they came back and scored from another driving line-out.
It’s really frustrating and disappointing but, as players, we are accountable — no-one else — and we have to take a long, hard look at ourselves.
Our driving line-out wasn’t great at Wasps a few weeks ago, but we’ve worked really hard on it and made improvements — things were definitely getting better — but now we’re back to square one. As players, we’re completely unable as a group to hold the detail the coaches are giving us.
Whatever area we seem to improve one week, we make mistakes in others. As opposed to improving those things and not having to revisit them, a few weeks down the line we are making them again.
We’re clearly in a bit of a hole as we’re on a bad losing streak and there’s no doubt that the mental aspect in sport is probably the biggest thing between winning and losing – at the moment, we have a lack of confidence.
I was chatting to a few of the Sale lads after the game and they were in the same boat as us last year and they spoke about having gone through a lot of the things we are experiencing now, so there’s no doubt it’s a tough place to be.
We’re not the first team to be in this situation and won’t be the last, but the only way out of this is sheer hard work, but it seems like the harder we work, the worse we get.
There’s a lot to work on, but the beauty of sport is we have another game this weekend when we go to Exeter.
It will be a massive challenge, but what better way to improve the spirits than getting an away win?
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