Richie Williams looking to learn from Cambridge’s defeat to Chinnor

PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 September 2018

Ziana Alexis scored his first try for Cambridge against Chinnor. Picture: Keith Heppell

Ziana Alexis scored his first try for Cambridge against Chinnor. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Plenty to take for head coach from reversal

Richie Williams feels Cambridge are still in the midst of adjusting their style as they suffered a 22-20 defeat to Chinnor in National League One last Saturday.

In an entertaining and closely-fought match, it was one score in the second half from the impressive Oxfordshire side that proved crucial.

There was, however, plenty of positives for Cambridge to take from the game, not least their defensive display in the second half when they kept Chinnor at bay for long periods.

“We said in our team huddle at the end that it’s about learning from our defeats,” said Cambridge head coach Williams.

“I think when we win we sometimes gloss over the fact that there are errors in our game, whereas I think we can probably sit and watch this game and reflect collectively but also individually that we weren’t good enough to win a game of rugby.

“It’s the big lesson to look at the second-half performance and pick it to pieces and look at what we can improve on moving forwards.

“The frustrating thing is we defended well, probably for 80 per cent of the second half. Chinnor kept the ball really well but when we got penalties and relieved the pressure, we would make an error and be under pressure again.

“It’s about not having double negatives; if we do something well then we need to reinforce that with another positive. That was the main issue for us in the second half, when we did eventually get the ball we gave it away far too easily and that’s ultimately what’s cost us a win.”

Kwaku Asiedu scored two tries in the first half for Cambridge as they got their attacking game in full flight, while their other score came through prop Ziana Alexis as the team showed great persistence in closing their opposition down.

That attacking flow was not quite there in the second half though, and they just required that bit more composure and patience in trying to break down the visitors.

“I think we’re probably still in between two styles at the moment,” said Williams. “I think the first instinct for a lot of players with our young squad is that we want to try to score tries from 60 or 70 metres.

“What we’ve learnt from the Sale game, to an extent against Loughborough, but certainly the way Chinnor played is that sometimes if the space is closer to the breakdown, we’ve got to be prepared to attack there.

“Whether it means it takes a lot longer, I think on reflection that’s a big thing from the second half.

“We tried to play too wide too early and lost possession in those wide channels. That’s a big area of our game that we need to improve on moving forward.

“I’m pleased with lots of things we’ve done in a short space of time but I think this has highlighted a few things we need to work on.”

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