RUGBY: Improve or lose says Banbridge boss

Banbridge RFC are set to host Backrock at Rifle Park on Saturday afternoon. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye
Banbridge RFC are set to host Backrock at Rifle Park on Saturday afternoon. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye
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If Banbridge RFC don’t improve, they could get a bashing on Saturday.

That’s the stark warning from Head Coach Daniel Soper.

His side were 16 points behind Queen’s at half-time last weekend. Although they rallied to earn a 19-19 draw, the boss says a repeat performance could end in a comfortable Blackrock win at Rifle Park on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).

“It’s going to require a big effort,” he said. “Last weekend wasn’t good enough and if we do that this Saturday, we will be well beaten.”

Blackrock, who were relegated from Division 1B last season, have begun with two wins from two.

“They were pretty unlucky to come down and have a big history of being a strong club,” continued Soper.

“We’re at home and if you can’t get yourself up for this then there is a fundamental issue.

“We lacked a bit of focus on what we were trying to do in the first half at Queen’s. We made a few errors and our strategy wasn’t great. We let ourselves down but it was a good reaction in the second half.

“There was maybe a bit of complacency. We didn’t have to work particularly hard for our scores against Sunday’s Well and then Saturday’s game was up a level. We didn’t get to that level quickly enough. It has identified some things that we need to address.”

Bann will, however, be without captain Adam Ervine as well as Mike Bentley. Ervine pulled his hamstring last weekend and faces a few weeks on the sidelines. Bentley, meanwhile, is visiting family in South Africa.

“They are decent blows but this season was always going to take more than 15 or 20 players,” said Soper.

“The Second XI have been very competitive this season, which shows our depth. We have a lot of young players.

“Having an improved squad is all well and good though. It’s what happens on the pitch that matters and unless we improve, then a great squad on paper won’t mean anything.”