Ross Stewart praises Cambridge workrate in win over Ampthill

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:42 14 February 2018

Darren Fox celebrates Cambridge's victory over Ampthill. Picture: Keith Heppell

Darren Fox celebrates Cambridge's victory over Ampthill. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Front row also earns recognition

Action from Cambridge versus Ampthill. Pictures: Keith HeppellAction from Cambridge versus Ampthill. Pictures: Keith Heppell

Ross Stewart hailed the workrate of Cambridge after they produced an impressive performance to beat Ampthill 20-8 in National League One.

Tries from Oli Petrides and Albert Portsmouth, and 10 points from Ben Penfold’s boot secured a win in which the front row of Harry Morley, Ean Griffiths and Shayne Moynihan particlarly caught the eye.

“I think all of the front row were outstanding,” said Stewart.

“People are very quick to criticise scrums when they go backwards, but the impact they’ve had there, I don’t think Ampthill had one solid scrum the whole game.

Action from Cambridge versus Ampthill. Pictures: Keith HeppellAction from Cambridge versus Ampthill. Pictures: Keith Heppell

“In these sort of conditions, when you’re getting errors, and the same when we played Plymouth, you’ve got to get your set-piece technically right.

“It’s putting them on the backfoot from the start, and for Harry [Morley] and the rest of the front row, it’s about the work we do in training, the pressure they are building on each other.

“We demand a lot from the boys defensively, and they get put in positions they may feel uncomfortable with but they just work their socks off.”

Stewart was keen to praise the impact of the replacements as well, invoking the words of the England head coach.

Action from Cambridge versus Ampthill. Pictures: Keith HeppellAction from Cambridge versus Ampthill. Pictures: Keith Heppell

“At the moment, our bench seems to be coming on and – without wanting to steal the words of Eddie Jones – adding that finishing touch; they are real finishers at the moment,” said Stewart.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the lads. Matt Meek, there is a lad that has moved to prop this year and is scrummaging against Ampthill and is being dominant; and we are confident enough to put him on.”

It was also easy to overlook the role of scrum-half Cameron Keenan, who controlled the pack in the victory.

“Cam is a Jack Russell, he always grafts and you get that from him. He tidied up some ball and defensively he’s outstanding,” said Stewart.

Action from Cambridge versus Ampthill. Pictures: Keith HeppellAction from Cambridge versus Ampthill. Pictures: Keith Heppell

“With Cam, it’s been frustrating for him as he’s had to sit on the bench for a few games. He hasn’t moaned, he’s grafted and worked and worked.”

Stewart added: “The bit that excites me most is that we’re just creeping into our attack. I don’t want to be too flippant and say our defence is set in there now as you’ve got to keep hammering it.

“But our defence seems to be steady and now it’s building that attack. And I can’t wait for it to dry up a little bit.”

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