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Loader content despite defeat
BRACKNELL taught Swindon a lesson in the art of powerful running rugby on Saturday, but coach Neil Loader was still pleased with his side’s display in their 31-12 defeat.
The big-spending Berkshire outfit showed plenty of aggression and intent in the pack, and their stocky running forwards effectively made the difference as Swindon were unable to recover after trailing 19-0 at the break, losing for the second time in three South West 1 East outings.
In the second period Loader’s men upped their game, committing better in the tackle and cruising home for two tries - courtesy of Connal Knott and Jordan Sheppard - to more than match their hosts.
However, the Greenbridge Road chief accepted that Bracknell showed his players where they must improve if they are to challenge for promotion.
“Bracknell have come down from the league above, they’ve got a playing budget which is perhaps not as high as was in the paper last week but they definitely pay for the win and stuff like that,” he said.
“They’ve managed to maintain a squad which has come from the league above and they’re pushing to go straight back.
“In the game they were just more powerful than we were, that’s all I can put it down to.
“If you took power out of it I think we would have been much closer to them, but obviously in our game power is a massively important part of it.
“They did the damage through big, strong, powerful running forwards creating damage in the midfield. In the first half we gave away too many penalties, they managed to kick four penalties in the first half. It was 19-0 at half-time and they’d only managed to score one try, so I was reasonably pleased with that.
“The second half was 12-12 so we made a much better fist of it. We scored the try of the game, our second try was amazing and I think the boys realised what the next step is going to take.
“It’s not just a case of playing pretty, hard-to-defend rugby, it’s up to us to have that element of power in there as well and that’s something we don’t have at the moment.
“A lot of the boys are still young, still maturing. We’ve got a few boys who are towards the end of their careers but we’ve still got a lot maturing in this team and if we can add to it, work on our fitness then the possibilities are still there.”
Meanwhile, Swindon College Old Boys took five points away from their visit to Risborough in the Berks/Bucks & Oxon Premier.
Risborough had no front row when the visitors arrived so the match was marked down as an away walkover, with Old Boys getting the extra bonus point.
That result, which will be officially confirmed as a 0-0, meant that the Swindon side are now top of the division as previous leaders Stow-on-the-old had no game.
Old Boys and Stow clash in Wiltshire this coming weekend in a game that will go a long way to deciding the destination of the league title and team manager Martin Peaple admitted: “That’s a really big game for us.”
In the absence of a league fixture on Saturday, Old Boys and Risborough played a friendly which the Swindon side won 21-10.