Cambridge bid to take Hartpury form forward in campaign
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 February 2017
Iliffe Media Ltd
College result gives coach optimism
Ross Stewart has challenged Cambridge to repeat their efforts at Hartpury College in the final seven games of the season.
The National League One leaders have won 23 games out of 23 this season, and picked up a try bonus point in 22 of the fixtures, but they were made to work hard for their win over Cambridge last Saturday.
Hartpury surged ahead in the first half with six tries, but Cambridge fought back to earn a bonus point in a 45-36 defeat, with Mike Ayrton, Albert Portsmouth, Tom Trotter, Tom Nutley, Louis Rawlings and Wade Schoeman all touching down.
“The boys worked their socks off,” said director of rugby Ross Stewart. “Bizarrely, although scoring six tries, the most pleasing thing was our defence.
“In the second half, the boys showed some real fight and spirit to keep them out.
“There were some really pleasing things to come out of our defence and credit to Hartpury’s attack, in that first 20 minutes it wasn’t far off unstoppable.
“We certainly knew they would score so we had a big emphasis on us looking after the ball when we had it.
“The second half we kept hold of the ball better, put pressure on them and got some tries.
“We were disappointed not to get that additional point off them and be the first to get two points off them this season.”
And now Stewart believes that Cambridge have set their own standard that needs to be maintained for the rest of the season.
“We genuinely believed we could win this game and the boys showed they can compete with the top of the league,” said Stewart.
“It’s now about working that into the next game and not waiting to feel ourselves into a game. We have to take that intensity forward.
“I think credit has to go to Hartpury and their organisation and to be brutally honest, they should be up there for sports team of the year.
“We want to be that next team and group that people are talking about, so for us we have to take steps forward in our last seven games.
“Now we have to go out there and do it which is our next challenge.”
He added: “I still feel we have got a game in us where we will just click and we just have to do it for 80 minutes.”