Rugby

Elliott takes positives out of Ivybridge’s opening pre-season match

IVYBRIDGE coach Gareth Elliott was happy with his side’s first pre-season run-out, despite losing 22-7 to a strong Exeter University outfit in torrential rain at Cross-in-Hand on Friday evening.

The match was level at 7-7 at the break, but the students, battling for BUCS places, pulled away in the second period with three tries from close range.

Ivybridge, though, did defend really well and the visitors had to work hard for their scores, but Exeter’s fitness and larger squad told on the night.

“I was quite happy, to be fair,” said Elliott. “You don’t expect to play your first pre-season game in conditions like that, but considering I thought we actually played the conditions quite well. We didn’t try to over-play but we came up against a pretty strong university side.

“As a first run-out, both in attack and defensively, we looked all right.

“The line-out was probably our biggest work-on – we need to sure that up – but we do have a couple of second-rows still to come back in which will help with that.

“The other thing is just fitness, but you are going to get that in the first pre-season game. The lads were blowing and we had a smaller bench than them.

“But I was really happy overall and it has given us some things to work on in training, which is what you want from your first pre-season game.”

He added: “I thought in terms of the effort and attitude, the boys were outstanding. There are bits we can work on technically, but first and foremost you want that heart and attitude and they showed that in abundance. It is really pleasing to see that they are going to work hard for that badge.”

After Exeter had taken the lead on 15 minutes, Ivybridge hit back almost immediately with captain and hooker Jay Geraty going over from a catch-and-drive move. Matt Grieveson added the conversion to level the match.

Ivybridge then suffered a blow minutes later when they lost player-coach Charlie Briant to a nasty eye injury, which left him needing medical treatment.

The hosts showed some great defence on their line to keep Exeter out before they had some late pressure before the break.

The weather did not ease up at all and both sides made plenty of changes in the second period. Exeter, with their larger squad, did dominate territory but they found Ivybridge hard to break down, but they eventually got joy with two catch-and-drive moves and a try from close range following a five-metre scrum.

Ivybridge will continue their pre-season preparations with an away match against Kingsbridge on Saturday, where players who did not feature against Exeter will get a run-out.

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