"This is your captain speaking..."
“No panic” was my message in the last blog and it remains the same during this blog. Our form over the last few months has been patchy to say the least and we as a team are fully aware of this, and aware of the challenges ahead. There is no bigger challenge than Neath at the Gnoll which is where we go this weekend.
As a team we have not been playing well and we recognise this. We have been training hard in the weeks leading up to games and the feeling as ever has been really good. Then come game day something hasn’t been going right which has led to disappointing defeats at Newport and Carmarthen Quins. Against Newport it was more individual error which cost us the game, then against the Quins it was our failure to close out a game and giving away a needless penalty.
In between these games we’ve had run outs against Llantrisant and Mountain Ash which were invaluable for us as a team as it gave all squad members a chance of a game, and coaches the chance to look at different combinations. It also gave certain squad numbers a chance to play against their home villages and mates which is always interesting.
I don’t think the postponement and cancellation of fixtures has helped our flow either because as soon as we had a game under our belt we were forced to have a weekend off or hastily arrange a fixture. We now know that we have one or maybe two games a week which should give us some stability and definitely gives us some aims for the rest of the season.
The victory last Friday against Bridgend was huge for us. There were definitely some nerves in the changing room from both players and coaches but we knew if we played anywhere near our potential we would win. The pitch and weather conditions helped us in our quest to play running rugby from the kick off but also mix it up when we needed to. I believe it was our best forward performance of the season and we dominated a very good Bridgend pack. Our backs as well seem to be hitting some fine form, running hard lines and showing free flowing handling. We set out to win the game, but to come away with a bonus point was more than we asked for.
During our dip in form we have been quite lucky that no team has really grabbed the Premiership by the so called horns, everyone seems to be beating everyone else. This leads to an exciting end to the season for supporters of all teams, but we are fully aware our destiny is in our own hands. There are still a number of games to re-arrange and the positive thing for us is a majority of our games are on - as Chief calls it, - ‘our island’ against teams that are above us.
To be the best you have to beat the best, and it starts this Saturday. We want to defend our crown as Swalec Cup holders and we know only our best will get us a victory against Neath. We are then going to have to back this up the following week when Neath visit Sardis in the league. We have a massive run in to the end of the season with everything still to play for. As players we are just as frustrated with our performances as you supporters but we now need to all come together if we want a successful end to the season.
As always your support this year has been nothing short of fantastic and we are going to need our 16th man to get us through this tough period until the end of the season. You have stuck by us this season when the going has got tough, now it is our turn to repay your faith and it starts this Saturday at the Gnoll!
22nd March 2012