Ross Stewart calls for Cambridge to adopt more astute approach
Cambridge look to bounce back against Rosslyn Park
Ross Stewart is looking for Cambridge to be smarter about the way they play in National League One after their 20-10 defeat to Ampthill
The Bedfordshire side were fifth in the table going into the match, but Cambridge dominated for large spells only for their own errors to prove costly for the visitors’ three tries.
A penalty try and Lawrence Hutchinson’s touch down had given Cambridge hope after Ampthill had taken a 15-0 lead, but a late try from the visitors deprived Stewart’s side of even a losing bonus point.
“Give Ampthill their due because they took the opportunities we gave them but I think the key being we gave them,” said the Cambridge director of rugby.
“It’s just a little bit of a lapse in concentration at the end there from our own attacking ball on halfway to then concede and lose the bonus point is a real kick in the teeth, to be honest.
“Everyone will be saying Cambridge didn’t score many tries, Ampthill were good in D, and I think they defended really well, they put a lot of numbers in defence.
“But we just didn’t recognise the space in the back field.
“We were running into brick walls and trying to play but you need to manipulate the defence and make them drop a winger. We had some success with kicks but we just left it a bit too late.
“We’re keen to play rugby and the boys have just got to manage that a kick is not a negative, a kick is attacking to isolate one man at the back which we did a few times.”
But Stewart is looking for Cambridge to be more astute in an attacking sense in order to break down stubborn teams.
“There are still times where we revert back to what we did last year which is great in National League Two but it’s a different ball game in National League One and you’ve got to be smarter,” he said. “You’ve got to be more accurate.
“There are times where we’re running what players think is right for them at that time and what we did last year, and we perhaps have just got to move on a bit.
“I will be honest with our backs, I thought they left themselves in a comfort zone a little bit. I thought we needed to exploit other opportunities.”
Stewart was, however, delighted with the display of the forwards.
“I thought the forwards were superb, it was a huge effort from them defensively and line-out.
“We focus on ourselves, what another team brings is up to them and we want for improvements and I think we’ve seen improvements in our forwards and we challenged our boys to deliver a Championship-level performance today and at times we did it.
“At the key times we didn’t quite have that composure so we will move on to next week, and we’re really disappointed to lose a bonus point there because ultimately it’s a long season and it’s not like they worked for it.”
Cambridge’s final game before Christmas is at home to Rosslyn Park this Saturday.