P6s at Livingston – Making Further Progress
Sunday 01 May 2016
We took a squad to the Livingston Tournament on Sunday with renewed optimism after some good recent results.
Our first game against Livingston went well, with our boys showing great determination in the breakdown and supporting each other in attack, scoring some nice tries. Sadly, a lot of hard work winning ball and scoring tries was undone by failure to tackle in the midfield and Livingston scored 2 tries straight from kick-offs with the runner going unchallenged. We ran out winners by 1 try, but made very hard work of what should have been a straight forward win.
Against Marr in our second match, the boys were required to increase their physicality. Marr were a big squad and played very hard at the breakdown, as we’ve come to expect from teams from the West. We matched them in all departments, turning over ball and using our strike runners to good effect on the counter attack to run in some nice tries. What was really nice to see in this match was the pressure we created when in defence – rushing the Marr players and harassing them into mistakes. Through this endeavour we won the match easily, setting up a pool decider against Kinross.
Against our arch rivals, Kinross, we succumbed to a couple of frailties in our play. The failure to consistently complete first time tackles in previous matches led to our defence first of all standing off the Kinross boys, which they were very grateful for, and secondly forming two lines of defence to cover for any missed tackles, leaving wide gaps on the wings which again the Kinross boys were able to exploit. We lost the match 3 – 8, but the difference in the teams is much finer than this margin. The Kinross team are very impressive to watch, with their organisation and formation in defence and attack rarely faltering.
Our boys are easily good enough to play in the same formation and capable of beating Kinross, however, it requires 100% commitment from all players in all aspects of the game. Without that trust in all players doing their job, we’ll continue to rely on cover tackles and “sweeper” play which a good opposition can exploit. To be clear, all boys are capable of playing at a very good level but we’re now getting into the finer details, particularly of giving 100% commitment for an entire match, which ultimately win or lose matches. Our final drill on Wednesday night, which involved a match of 7 v 4, demonstrated this perfectly. In such an imbalanced match, the 4 should never score if the 7 are fully committed to the task. The boys in the 4, however, worked much harder for each other out of necessity, whereas the 7 were often left looking at each other wondering who was going to make a tackle or clear a ruck. We’re guilty of doing exactly that in some games, relying on someone else to do the hard work.
We’ll keep working on this in training, but for now the boys should be proud of another excellent display of rugby on Sunday – we’re making progress !