STORTFORD looked a new side on Saturday as they produced a convincing 43-12
victory over Loughborough University.
First XV flanker Dan Elsom sat down with the club’s Director of Rugby, Andy Long,
who was pleased with the way his side flipped their performance in a week.
DE: The side clearly worked hard during the week to turn things around
following last week’s tough defeat. All systems really seemed to be firing
AL: First and foremost, our attitude was better this week. The game was pretty
much won Tuesday and Thursday in the way the boys prepared for
Loughborough. You could tell in the way everyone turned up on Saturday that
we were ready to put a performance in, and it showed on the pitch. Our error
count was low, and our collision win rate was high, which made it a lot easier to
get over the gain line and attack. We played with more width and put our guys
into space, but the pleasing thing was that we had a lot of variety to our game
and we mixed things up well. The boys deserve the win, they worked really hard.
DE: Stortford picked up another two yellow cards to make it four in two
weeks. Is discipline becoming an issue amongst the group?
AL: The first one on Saturday against Sean (Edwards) was a bit unlucky; it’s hard
to say that it definitely came off his hand. But it was more an accumulative thing,
and maybe we need to be better at listening to the referee at times. Dan Leo’s
was an alleged high shot in a pick and go situation, which is hard to judge really.
In fairness, it comes more when we fatigue and we start to make poor decisions,
so that’s something that we need to consider.
DE: Fullback Robert Duff has already bagged himself a host of tries this
year, with two against the Students. How has the Aussie settled into the
group after joining mid-way through the start of the season?
AL: First and foremost, aside from rugby, he has fit in well as a bloke. Our group
is very tight, and if you don’t fit in well it can be hard to play well. He’s now
starting to settle and we are seeing more of what we were expecting of him.
Getting the ball in his hands is key, and our new attack on Saturday helped with
that. We are really pleased with Rob, and he looks like he is enjoying himself out
there too. He will grow and develop more in the side as the season progresses.
That back three is quite a dangerous threat with Chris (Smith) being big and
strong, (Nick) Hanks in the way he moves and his speed, then Rob adding a lot of
strength at the back. We have plenty of competition for guys in those positions so
we are in a really good place.
DE: The squad are looking forward to a local derby with Cambridge this
Updated 21:47 - 24 Dec 2017 by Perry Oliver
week. What can we expect from them?
AL: They are well drilled and they have a decent scrum. Physically they will be
tough and try to hit our forward runners hard off our first and second phases, but if we can keep our depth and put some footwork on their runners, we should
be able to get over the top of them.
They put Blackheath under a bit of pressure last week, but then Blackheath did
the same to them. They are a side that is sitting ninth in the league, which is
probably reflective of their performance really from what I’ve seen. The key
thing is they have always got a big performance in them.
We enjoy going there; we have had some great battles over the years and we
have won there more times than we have lost. But we know that has always been
built on really good preparation, so we need to have a solid understanding this
week. We have plenty of supporters heading out with us, and it’s always great to
see all the blazers making the trip out, it creates such a great atmosphere.