GRAHAM DAWE admits his young Plymouth Albion team have ‘a few things to talk about’ after their 34-3 defeat to high-flying Blackheath at Rectory Field on Saturday.
The loss was Albion’s biggest of the season and it was the first time this campaign the Brickfields club had not scored at least one try in a match.
Albion did battle hard in freezing conditions in east London and they were in the game until the 52nd minute when Blackheath scored a fortuitous third try. The home side, unbeaten on their own patch this term, then went on to add two more with their pack providing their platform.
“It was a game that got away from us,” said director of rugby Dawe.
“We were competitive all the way through really, but Blackheath showed their class and efficiency to look good on the scoreboard.
“We didn’t control territory enough to keep the pressure on them really, but they showed they are a very efficient team.”
He added: “We’re not here to come second, are we? We want to be competitive for 80 minutes. We want to be in the hunt and going into the last 15 minutes and we weren’t in the hunt this week. On that basis we have a few things we need to talk about.”
Dawe admits his team are giving away too many penalties. Three of Blackheath’s five tries came straight from penalties. Their first one also came from a line-out after Albion had kicked straight out.
Blackheath’s decisive third try came after they went for a penalty kick to try and take the momentum out of Albion, who were getting back into the game. Leo Fielding’s kick hit the left post and bounced back into Blackheath’s hands and they eventually went over to score.
Dawe said: “They got the penalty in the first place, so you have to deal with that. You don’t want to be giving away penalties in your own half.
“The penalty count went against us again and whether that is perception or reality it is beginning to stick with us at the moment.
“But our scrum went well and we were unfortunate not to get more out of that.”
Albion, missing key second-row Dan Collier and top points scorer Tom Putt, handed a debut to teenage lock Jim Massey and also gave 18-year-old wing Harrison Cully only his second appearance and first since the opening day.
Dawe said: “Jim really got stuck in and being a forward he had more opportunities than Harrison, who didn’t get a lot of opportunity on the wing.”
Albion, still missing Jarrad Hayler due to Royal Navy duty, also brought on Sam Matavesi in the second half after he re-signed for the club on Thursday night after David Fisher was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
“Sam is a good player to have around the squad,” he said Dawe. “Hopefully he will bring something to the party.”