1872 Cup: Rennie won’t press panic button

Image: ©INPHO/Craig Watson

DAVE RENNIE says that there will be no panicked reactions after his team’s shock defeat against 14-man Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield last night. The plan before the match was that his players would have three days off over Christmas before returning to training on 27th, and that won’t change despite their unbeaten record in the Guinness PRO14 flying out the window.

“We’re not going to panic around that or have a knee-jerk reaction. We’ll bring them back in on the 27th – give guys a chance to spend time with family at Christmas. To be honest, for me, it is about an attitude adjustment more than anything else. Tactically we’re not going to change a hell of a lot but we need to be better with and without the ball, and most of that is in the top couple of inches,” said Rennie.

“There are some pretty heavy hearts down in the changing room tonight but it’s not often that you get a chance of redemption seven days later. We will want to do things right and maybe show the true Warriors.”

“We went up 7-0 after about a minute and we had a one-man advantage a few minutes after that, so we should never lose a game in that situation. It’s to Edinburgh’s credit, they hung in there and we kept feeding them the ball back,” he continued.

“We didn’t defend with the sort of intensity that we have had for most of the season. Discipline hurt us late in the game. Sitting in the coaching box it could have been scripted. You give away a couple of penalties and give them the opportunity to hurt you. I thought we were really poor tonight.”

“These guys will be highly motivated because we know that was a disappointing performance and we’re a hell of a lot better than that. So, we’ve got to put that on the park. It’s not just for the guys in the room – we represent a region which has high expectations.”

The loss of Simon Berghan to a red card for stamping after just five minutes was the key moment in the match, but surprisingly it was Edinburgh who seemed to be spurred on by the incident, while the Warriors seemed to drop off at that point.

“Who knows what goes on in the mind but it certainly looks that way. We lacked a bit of polish and we lacked the physicality required to win those sorts of clashes. We had a chance to put them out of the game and we should have done it. If you let a team hang in there you can get hurt – it almost happened against Cardiff and it did happen tonight.”

Rennie was clearly frustrated by his team’s lack of patience at key moments, particularly during a five-minute spell at the end of the first half when they twice got over the Edinburgh line but couldn’t get the ball grounded. That period of pressure eventually unravelled when Warriors tried to move the ball wide and Alex Dunbar knocked-on.

“I still wouldn’t have been happy at half time but it would have given us a little more momentum coming in. So, a little bit of patience around there. We feel we’ve got a better scrum eight on eight, let alone eight on seven, so a little bit control and patience down there – sometimes you can bring a referee into a game by consistently giving away penalties which makes him have to do something – so a little bit composure there,” he explained.

“I said to the boys, ‘a ruck is not a disaster’. We have to be prepared to hang into the ball and build some pressure.”

“I am not looking for excuses. We had enough opportunities. We have talked a lot about it. You have to look after the ball and you have to build some pressure and we didn’t do that well enough and Edinburgh did when they got their chances.”

Mistakes were also an issue, he added.

“One in particular when we found a bit of space in behind them and hit two on none, so we are creating new ways of turning the pill over,” he said.

“Who knows? We may look back on the game a godsend. There’s all this talk about being unbeaten but we weren’t good enough tonight and we need to be better next week.”

About David Barnes 4030 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.