Exiles fail to continue winning streak in league fixtures, losing to GWR, current league leaders! Report by Nick Greenhalgh.
Tough match against GWR. Some good pieces of work here and there with tackling and the odd pick and run. Not enogh good work to secure the result we wanted and Exiles crash back down to earth with a bump after lasyt weekend’s glory.
GWR as usual had a capable scrum and so we had no advantage there. Though the boys battled well here. The lineout went reasonably well also, again neither team overly dominant here.
Suspect we lost due to a few missed tackles, and as a result of a mistake after several phases of reasonable play leading to a turn over or penalty. Balls stolen in tackles or not secured well enough in the loose hurt us. As did lack of control on the penalty restarts. Too frantic! The Exiles ship needs steadying here. The scrum and back line lacked the smooth interface of the previous week. Sadly too few dedicated backs and too many back row made it tricky to enable this. The scrum half/ fly half partnership was not really a partnership more a divorce in progress and as a result very little ball made it out to the backs.
Having said that there were some good runners showing promise here and there. Usual suspects were making yards, MacSweeney, Ciaran, myself did OK in the loose, as did new boy Warren who played his first game in 15 years as prop. The support sadly wasn’t there like last week, so at the end of the runs sadly there were too often turn overs or penalties! Boy were there a lot of penalties. You’d probably scorch your hand if you touched the wee ball in the refs whistle!
Then there was the discipline too too often mentioned in these reports. Two individuals this time. Both talked to during and after the match. One apologised nicely, the other is still a work in progress. It’s a tough game if you get niggled and the ref sees it or not, complaining ain’t going to put it right. If you aren’t happy with what is going on with relationships on the pitch, speak to your captain calmly, no niggling with team mates creating larger problems… Its a team sport, no room for individuals to discourteously disrupt affairs. I spend a fair amount of the week getting a squad, I spend time writing these monstrous reports, but on a Saturday afternoon I want to spend my game playing the game, not trying to control errant players who can’t control themselves in the "heat of the match"! Based on this and the numerous times it has come up recently I think it time to introduce a three match ban for players who in the eye of the captain of the day are not controlling their discipline, regardless whether that be an issue with the ref, the oppo or their own team! Summary: I am sick of it, and the last straw has been put on this camels back.
Other comments. Well done to Tom Tom on putting in a nice bit of pace to stop a try from a long oppo kick. Good work, and well held up, I know he had to wait quite sometime before the support arrived! Big thanks to all the front row players, I know the oppo did you no favours on Saturday, but you held up well. Big thanks to all those back row players who had to play far and wide in various positions for various amounts of time. Good to see Noel, Steve R and Ed back from an extended absence. Alister damaged his shoulder, hope all goes well with the recovery on that, so you can get back to running in those fast wingers tries.
Last comment: Fitness… A few fellas are seemingly only getting exercise at the weekend in the form of often only half a game. You need to get down to training on Tuesday if you can, failing that you need to do some running round the many wonderful parks we have in West London. Not just plodding around, do some fartleking (http://www.runningforfun.co.uk/what-is-fartlek.html) between lampposts and core work press ups sit ups etc… It’s easier with someone else to work off, email the Exiles group if you need help getting a fartlek buddy! I don’t want to be seeing anyone in the backrow not showing a reasonable level of fitness, if you want to shuffle into the front 5 then that is ok, but 6,7,8 need to be searching for tackles, getting in position, chasing, breaking etc….
As usual it was a pleasure to play GWR. Thanks for the jug of bitter after the game, as the only bitter drinker in the team I was stoked by this thoughfulness. May be we’ll make it to the play offs and get to do battle again, all the best with your future fixtures this season.
Gautam Tamang (‘T’)
Mark Davies (Spike)