Captain Andrew Hibbard
In the second edition of our new feature, we sat down with 1st XV captain Andrew Hibbard in the club house after the home loss to Bradford.
“We need to learn to tackle! We started the first half quite confidently but just didn’t get in our tackles. Too often the first tackle was missed and we just weren’t organised enough to halt the charge. Even though we pressed hard we couldn’t break through their lines and perhaps we over committed against them and left ourselves vulnerable at the back. What ever the case, they punished us with virtually every break and the harder that we tried to get back into the match, the more we fell behind.
“I felt that we turned it round in the second half when we were playing down the slope. Statistically we won the second half by 25 – 5; it’s just a shame that we lost the first half 43-3! I think that the lads put in a really great effort in the second half. We were all a bit shell shocked at half time and it would have been quite easy to have simply caved in, but we didn’t and every player on that pitch put in a tremendous shift in the second half. I’ve just been shown a statistic that shows that 68 points were scored by teams playing downhill in the match while only 8 were scored uphill! It just shows how much effect the momentum that a team can get playing downhill makes.
“Once again, it was a patched up team with nearly all of the backs either 2nd XV players drafted in at the last moment or 1st teamers playing out of position. I don’t think that we’ve put out our potentially strongest set of backs at all this season. When we were like we were in the first half today, no one is confident about what is going on around them. We wouldn’t have had any training in that kind of formation and that lack of confidence caught us out big time.
“Having said all that, everyone played well. I can’t fault their commitment or efforts. I’m particularly thankful to all of the 2nd XV players who turned up expecting to play for the 2nds but were then drafted into our team at the last minute and also to the lads who came across from the 2nd’s match when our injury toll rose and we were short of players.
“Picking up the 4 try Bonus point was a ‘bonus’ – we didn’t expect that at half time but it’s testimony to the lads that once we’d got that first try we pushed on so hard to get the three others.
“We’re off on our travels next week to play Frome. They’ve had a really impressive run of form recently and we’re expecting a much harder match than when they came here earlier in the campaign. I hope, and emphasise the word ‘hope’, that we can put out something close to our best team next week, pick up a win and add to our bonus point tally.”