Soper not getting carried away after bonus point

Stephen Irvine from Banbridge RFC, attended the launch of the new sponsorship deal between SONI and the Ulster Senior League and is pictured with (L-R) Bobby Stewart, President of IRFU Ulster Branch, Robin McCormick, Managing Director of SONI, and Dr Joan Smyth, board member of SONI.
Stephen Irvine from Banbridge RFC, attended the launch of the new sponsorship deal between SONI and the Ulster Senior League and is pictured with (L-R) Bobby Stewart, President of IRFU Ulster Branch, Robin McCormick, Managing Director of SONI, and Dr Joan Smyth, board member of SONI.
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Banbridge Coach Daniel Soper was pleased with his side’s bonus point win over Queen’s which saw them retain top spot in the Division 2A of the All-Ireland League.

However he was not getting carried away, despite what he called a “very mature” performance against Queen’s.

“After all, it’s only half-time,” he said after the game.

He was referring to this Saturday’s game against the same opposition, when Bann will have home advantage.

But he could equally have been alluding to the overall position, with the league having reached the halfway point.

A lot of supporters said after the game that it was as good a performance as they have seen from a Banbridge team in recent times.

“It probably was but the boys worked hard and everything went for us,” Soper said.

“We played into the wind in the first half and defended pretty well.

“We got a couple of opportunities to score and took them to give ourselves a 12-6 lead at half-time.

“That was key and we knew we would have the wind during the second half.

Banbridge still required a strong second half performance to see the game out, with nothing being taken for granted.

Soper said: “We started the second half well, got forward and got a couple of early scores so 10 minutes into the half, we were never really going to lose the game.

“Queen’s were capable of scoring though so until the final whistle, I never really relaxed.

“To get a bonus point on a day with such bad conditions was a huge plus for us.

“We did the same last week. They could be a huge help to us come the end of the season.”

Bann boast a mean defence this season and this marked the second consecutive game they didn’t concede a try.

Soper said: “A lot of it is down to good defensive performances. We haven’t conceded a try in the last two games and our defence is even creating opportunities for us with the pressure they’re putting on other teams.”

There is a real buzz about the club this season with fans flocking to watch the league leaders on Saturdays.

“It’s nice that people are enjoying our games and having fun watching us. It’s more about the players feeling satisfied with their performance and with the things we are doing in training bringing rewards on a Saturday.”