WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club head coach Kieron Dawson already knows the importance of his side’s match away to Tynedale on Saturday.
Raiders suffered a disappointing 43-24 defeat at home to Loughborough Students on Saturday, despite picking up a four-try bonus point. Next up is the long trip north to take on a Tynedale side who are second from bottom – four places and five points behind Raiders.
Dawson knows his side have a chance to create a nice little gap over their opponents with victory and said: “I already see it as a eight-point game as, if we win, it puts them in desperate trouble already and will give us a nice cushion.
“It’s a game that we can’t afford to lose, even at this early stage.”
Dawson and his team of coaches will be working on Raiders’ defensive play again this week, as they have conceded the second-highest number of points in National 1, with 191.
Loughborough ran in seven tries on Saturday and Dawson said: “We’re scoring a lot of tries – 23 in five games – but our defence is letting us down, and it’s so soul destroying.
“It’s just guys missing their tackles and we’re giving away too many easy points, so it’s something we’ll be working on again in training this week.
“I maybe over-reacted a little bit to Saturday’s defeat after the game as it was a bad loss and a poor performance but I’ll sit down and watch a video of the game and see what went wrong and what we can take from the game.
“I spoke to the Loughborough coach afterwards and he said that when they were promoted into National 1 a couple of years ago, they didn’t take a point from their first seven games, so we’re well ahead of where they were when they came up.”
A couple of positives for Raiders came with the return to action of captain Matt Miles and a man-of-the-match performance from debutant Liam Perkins. Dawson said: “You can’t do anything if you don’t have class players and that’s what Matt is and Liam showed his class as well. We’ve got the players to do well and still have Charlie McGowan, Jamie Redmayne and Joe Burns to come back as well.”