Druids v Caerleon (Away) 12 Oct 2013

3-8 Loss

Druids big effort not enough

The journey to Caerleon RFC awaited Monmouth Druids in their latest league fixture.They were aware that Caerleon were unbeaten this season, so a stern test was anticipated. Some injuries and unavailability caused a few concerns but recent results were encouraging for a successful outcome.

From the kick off, the Druids were dominant and most of the half was spent in the Caerleon half. The revamped scrum kept the home side on the back foot. The larger home pack struggled to hold their own against a determined eight.
In a rare Caerleon attack, the Druids were penalised for off side and the home team kicked the goal to give the home side a 3-0 lead. This was the only score of the half but the Druids will have been optimistic after having the better of the first period. A couple of Callum Conner runs particularly raised their hopes as they faced the second half.

Caerleon offered little and their outside half chose to kick the ball rather than pass to his centres. This kicking was limited in success but local knowledge in a cross wind was significant. The home side absorbed the Druids attacks without varying this tactic.

This apparent game plan was continued in the second half and in fact they launched the odd attack. From an sortie in the Druids half a kick through by Caerleon was chased enthusiastically by the home side and their left wing won the race to touch down the ball for a try. The conversion failed but the 8-0 lead was important in a tight game.

At last the Druids got on the scoreboard with a penalty goal from Dave Brace to reduce the deficit to 8-3.

The game opened up a little and Caerleon should have added to their try count save for a fine tackle from centre Greg Wilding. A run from one of their threequarters looked to add the score as he crossed the Druids try line. In the act of touching down, the attacker was held up by Wilding to prevent a try being scored.

The Druids raised their efforts and could have scored a couple of tries through movements started in their own half. Wrong options and poor decision making caused mishaps and no scores resulted.

So a 8-3 defeat which the Druids will be very disappointed with. They played the more expansive game but they need to be more accurate in their passing and catching. They must learn to put pace on the ball and get it out to the wings. Up front the forwards fought hard, won the scrum battle and shared the lineouts. Generally the Druids will need to review their tactics and use kicking as an attacking ploy. There will be views that the Druids rugby was superior to that of the home side but the defeat said it all.

For the Druids, Greg Wilding, Matt Tabb, Milo Thomas and James Gibson played well as did Tom Cratchley.

Pen: D.Brace

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