For me, there was certainly no shame at all in that loss!
I expected to come up short in that one, particularly against a team who are by far the best in the game at present, mainly because they are, unlike most other teams, almost completely devoid of injuries. That’s the luck you need and it brings consistency, cohesion and confidence. They are on paper little better as a team than we are, although their structures are different and more effective, but that’s a discussion for another day. Nevertheless, I was certainly heartened by a game that for about 60 minutes we were really in with a chance of winning and in which we again displayed that famed ‘Spirit of 2016’, as the players gave their all and by the end left nothing at all on the pitch.
With such an injury crisis, I was just pleased to attend a game where we were no longer in danger of being sucked into the middle eights. It was stress free rugby, but to my surprise in patches we were really good and really intense, in fact in short bursts we looked a better team than the run-away leaders, but as often happens with young players we couldn’t sustain the intensity and thus the pressure. However, there is no doubt that at 18-10 up, had the master plotter Sneyd and his ‘generals’ of Griffin, Shaul, Talanoa and Westerman been playing, we would have shut the opposition out and witnessed a famous victory, but in the end as fatigue kicked in they were just too mentally tough and too physically strong for us.
But thank heavens for small mercies and at least we are, as I say, safe from that bottom 4, because I wouldn’t fancy going to Headingley, Craven Park (or Wakey), Thuggish Featherstone (again), Toulouse and Toronto if this injury situation (as it appears to be doing at present) continues week on week, would you?