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Stewart gives Cambridge a target for the next month

By Mark Taylormark.taylor@iliffemedia.co.uk

Cambridge director of rugby Ross Stewart and forwards coach Dan Seal
Cambridge director of rugby Ross Stewart and forwards coach Dan Seal

Ross Stewart is eyeing the next four games as winnable fixtures for Cambridge in National League One.

They were comprehensively beaten 55-12 at Coventry last weekend, with the hosts’ forward dominance creating the platform for them to score eight tries.

Chris Leathem and James Ayrton touched down for Cambridge in the second half, but the game was over by then as the divide in the division seemed apparent.

But Cambridge director of rugby Stewart wants his side to have the belief that they compete with all teams.

“Everyone knows in this league that there is a bit of a divide,” said Stewart. “There are clubs with low budgets, there are clubs with aspirations of just staying in the league and wanting to compete and not go any further.

“And then you have clubs like Coventry, Moseley, Plymouth that want to play Championship rugby and are investing not only in the players but the infrastructure. They’re investing in that dream to be there.

“Fair play to Coventry on the day, I thought they took their chances really well and they didn’t give us a lot.

“I think they have a little way to go, but you can only do what you can do against an opposition and they picked us off and were patient, and that was the difference.”

But the next four games, three of which are at Volac Park, give Stewart reason to belie

“We don’t tend to look too far in advance. We spoke as a group and we felt winning all the next four games was possible, and I suppose that’s just something that we’re trying to create, the belief in the players that they are good enough to be on this stage.

“And perhaps they did not believe in themselves enough against Coventry.

“We have Hull at home, we go away to Blaydon and then we have Ampthill at home and then we start all over again with Rosslyn Park at home, so there are four games we would be looking to win and think we should be winning.”

But he added: “You rattle through all these teams, and you hear, you watch and you can review videos but as you’ve seen in the league, you can review a game one week and they’re poor, and then they are a different team the next.”

Former Cambridge director of rugby Rowland Winter is now in charge at Coventry, and he said: “It was good to catch up with everybody and it was an odd feeling watching a group starting the game with 30 players on the park where the majority of them I have recruited when you have that personal attachment to them.

“Cambridge had a lot of hype from their end media wise, and we knew that if we got rid of that hype and really attacked it clinically we would have far too much power for them up front.

“That’s what rugby is about sometimes, getting the basics done first.”

He added: “They have still got plenty of attacking minded players and when they get on the front foot and the opportunity to play, they are a dangerous side so you have to take those opportunities away from them and make them arm wrestle.

“And that’s pretty much where we won the game.”


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