Gourlay urges UCS Old Boys to improve at the breakdown and ‘become more ruthless’

UCS Old Boys coach Nick Gourlay. Pic: Paolo Minoli

UCS Old Boys coach Nick Gourlay. Pic: Paolo Minoli - Credit: Archant

UCS Old Boys coach Nick Gourlay has urged his side to improve at the breakdown and “become more ruthless” after their third successive defeat, which leaves them in the bottom two in Herts/Middlesex Division One.

Despite leading twice in the first half away against Wasps after penalties from James Boxer and Nathaniel Breakwell, the Old Boys found themselves 18-6 down in the second half.

Fine individual tries from Eliot Duke and captain Tom Arnold, which sandwiched a Wasps score, narrowed the gap to nine points with five minutes left, but the away team were unable to cut the deficit further and grab a losing bonus point as they went down 25-16.

Gourlay reflected: “We didn’t cope with the breakdown well enough, which is becoming a feature of our games.

“We produced a lot of ruck ball but it was slowed down and our backs didn’t keep the depth and width needed to exploit those opportunities, and we didn’t fix our men. Wasps scrambled well in defence.

“The referee penalised the opposition for repeated offences and yellow-carded one player but still we couldn’t capitalise on that – we have to become more ruthless.”

Meanwhile, Hendon were also defeated in Herts/Middlesex Division One, losing 44-21 away against league leaders Verulamians, despite Dave Francis’ hat-trick.

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The Dons took the lead in the opening minute as captain Cian Hynes’ kick over the defence was collected by Francis, whose try was converted by Hynes.

However, Verulamians kicked two penalties and then two converted tries. And, although Hynes set up Francis for another converted try which brought the visitors back into the game at 20-14 at the break, the hosts then crossed the line four times in succession.

Francis completed his treble but Hendon were unable to pick up a bonus point and slipped down to seventh place.