James Shanahan tempers Cambridge University expectations

PUBLISHED: 07:05 20 October 2016 | UPDATED: 17:57 20 October 2016

Mike Phillips in action for Cambridge University.

Mike Phillips in action for Cambridge University.

Iliffe Media Ltd

Light Blues set target

James Shanahan tried to put into context the dilemma faced by Cambridge University in the middle of the toughest double header of the Michaelmas Term.

The Light Blues lost 50-0 against a very impressive Trinity College Dublin side at Grange Road on Monday night, and they will follow-up that test with a clash against Northampton Saints next Monday.

So the Light Blues head coach Shanahan is having to temper the expectations of his team.

“We talk about the process not the outcome and the performance of us as a team not necessarily based on the team we’re playing,” he said.

“It’s completely different to a game in league rugby where it’s about the outcome.

“If you look after the processes, in theory the outcome looks after itself.

“When you’re playing a Trinity, a Northampton Saints, a Worcester, a Saracens then realistically you know you’re going to struggle to win the game so you have to set out some goals and some processes that you can take away from the game.

“That’s what we tried to do against Trinity but I’ll have to have a look (at the video) as I’m not sure if we hit too many of them.

“But it’s not from the fault of the players not trying hard enough or the endeavour, it was just a good side on a good night and we struggled.”

However, the main priority remains the clash with Oxford at Twickenham on December 8.

“It’s trying to be positive with the players to realise you never go to play badly or lose a game of rugby, but you have to be realistic,” he said.

“When it’s leading to the big game, which is the Varsity Match in theory, not that we want to lose every game but if we win the Varsity – like I said to the boys – no-one will actually care what happens tonight.

“It’s difficult for new players to understand that, like Charlie (Amesbury) because he is a professional rugby player and you lose by 50 points and you’re angry and want to do something about it.

“So I will probably have a chat with him to hopefully make him relax a bit more.

“But I’m glad he’s angry because he’s a good leader and it shows he has a massive heart and wants to perform for the boys so that’s good.”

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