Learning together is key for Cambridge as Blackheath test awaits

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 February 2017

Cambridge captain Stefan Liebenberg, right

Cambridge captain Stefan Liebenberg, right

Iliffe Media Ltd

Spirits high after end of six-match winless run

Ross Stewart is hoping to see a further understanding of game management from Cambridge after they ended their six-match losing run with victory at Macclesfield last Saturday.

It has been a difficult run of games for Cambridge as while they have been producing some good performances, bad spells in matches has seen them living off the morsels of bonus points.

But they bounced back at the weekend as two tries from Stef Liebenberg and one each from Tom Nutley, Oli Petrides and Albert Portsmouth helped them secure a bonus-point 36-24 win over bottom club Macclesfield.

“It was a good win but not our best performance, ironically, over the six losses, but it was a really dogged, hard-fought win,” said Cambridge director of rugby Stewart.

“We only beat them by five points before at home so it was always going to be a harder challenge then perhaps we thought. There was a lot of pressure on us on a six-game losing run and away from home.”

So having got the much-needed win, Cambridge are back at Volac Park this Saturday, when they play host to fifth-placed Blackheath.

“When we played them away, I thought we played pretty well,” said Stewart. “It’s a game we can win and if we can stay in the game and eradicate some of our own errors, then we think we can get a result.

“We’re a young team and some of these boys haven’t experienced these occasions in sport. We are building that in our team and squad – you can’t underestimate that (experience) in the squad.

“Eighty minutes is a long time in rugby and the experienced players can feel that and the flow of the game, and you have to get an understanding of that.

“We have to rely on a group of players that grow together. We have to learn to play in the right areas and play as a group.

“If the backs feel it’s on, they need to communicate to the forwards ‘give us a massive 10 minutes and we will have some joy’.

“We would be naive if we felt we could come in and run it around and run teams off the pitch. Conditioning wise, it’s not the same league as it was in National Two.

“Sometimes you take the pace off the game to stop the opposition.”

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