Worthing Raiders coach sees Tonbridge Juddians trip as an 'excellent opportunity'

Curtis Barnes scores his try. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Curtis Barnes scores his try. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Worthing Raiders coach Ben Coulson sees the trip to Tonbridge Juddians this weekend as 'an excellent opportunity' to test themselves as challenge for points.

Raiders suffered a heavy 53-7 defeat to Rams last week and Coulson is looking for his side to bounce back on Saturday.

Worthing Raiders in action against Rams. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Worthing Raiders in action against Rams. Picture by Stephen Goodger

He said: "This week will be another tough encounter, but an excellent opportunity to test ourselves and challenge for points.

"TJs are a very good side, well coached with a number of experienced individuals all of which is driving them towards a top four finish. It is a tough place to go and win, but we’ll be well prepared and looking for points.

"Winning there on Saturday would be huge for us and go a long way to sustaining our league status, something we are clearly mindful of. We want to win, we want to score four tries and we’ll do everything in our power to achieve these goals."

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On the Rams defeat, Coulson could see why Rmas are at the top of the National League 2 South table.

He said: "We knew going into the game Rams are a very good side.

"There are good reasons for them being so far ahead of everyone else in the league.

"They’re clinical in everything they do from set piece to building continuity through excellent support play, there are no weaknesses in their squad.

"They challenge across the field and have without doubt the best scrum set piece in the league. Rams are at the level you’re able to attain after a number of years building a squad, good coaching and of course being very well funded."

But it wasn't all negatives. Coulson said: "We were unable to get a foothold in the first half and so were reactive in almost everything we did. So we were unable to exert any real pressure in the first 40 minutes.

"However one of the very impressive and pleasing points from the first half was the performance of the forward pack, holding their own against Rams scrum set piece. This is evidence of the work they've been doing under Jody and progress the group has undoubtedly made.

"Our backs had moments where they challenged the defence, although we were unable to cross for points, owing in part to the pressure we were under and in part to our inaccuracy at times.

"Pleasingly the second half was much more of a contest and for twenty minutes we managed to pressure the Rams side and force them into mistakes. Unfortunately, and this is a take away for us, when we made mistakes the opposition pounced and made us pay. When they were forced into errors we were unable to gain the upper hand.

"When we ran hard, from depth and challenged the individual’s ability to tackle we won clean front foot ball. This is always the goal and it permitted us to stretch the game, using the width and allowing runners the space to be creative. Rams were and are consistently amongst the most effective in the league at reducing your time, space and opportunity, again this is a big part of why they are where they are. In the second half ball maintenance was better and Curtis crossing in the left corner was evidence of this upturn in application.

Coulson believes his side can take great heart from the second half performance and that will help them going forward.

He said: "There are plenty of work ons for us, obviously. However we spoke as a group after the game and agreed we could take great heart from the second period.

"It showed promise, an individual desire and determination to make a difference and add to the collective effort. Ultimately we are not competing against Rams. The teams around us are the ones we need to be taking the points from, gaining those important 10 plus points that will grant us our safety.

"Getting the balance between bravery, confidence, tempo and accuracy is of paramount importance. Pragmatic optimism in the way play, continuing to go for it if it’s on and of course strive for those four try bonus points."