Play with pride

Nathan ring action
Nathan ring action

Pride in rugby is an obligatory quality.

From Park Avenue, Eastbourne to the ongoing Six Nations at Twickenham, the Millennium Stadium and Murrayfield; an ability to puff out one’s chest and appear 10 feet tall is of vital importance.

Eastbourne coach Roger Stanley won’t be asking his players to perform a Maori haka on Saturday, but he is looking for pride.

The Blue and Golds travel to table-topping Crowborough tomorrow afternoon (2.30pm) out to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment at rock-bottom Dartfordians.

Two defeats in three London and South East division three matches have not dented his side’s confidence, says Stanley, but they will need to raise their game this week.

“Crowborough are a lot tougher proposition, but I do look forward to the games against the top teams,” he said.

“We didn’t perform at all last week, it was probably one of our low points of the season.

“I think the guys have got more pride than to play like that again. There was something missing.

“I guess it’s my job to get the players up, but even before they went out last week, that last 10 per cent was missing.

“When you’re playing the lowest teams in the league there might be some sense of complacency.”

Eastbourne’s recent blip, albeit only a minor one – a ‘wake-up call’ defeat to Medway and that Dartfordians loss – has proved to be costly for their league position.

Folkestone and Park House have jumped ahead of them in the standings, but Stanley’s men face both within the next three weeks. They must also play second-placed Charlton Park before the season is out.

If they are to achieve their aim of a fourth-placed finish, the coach knows where they need to improve.

He said, “For the first time last week our pack wasn’t strong, which is really unusual. We defended okay through the middle, but we are looking for an improvement in performance.

“Crowborough are a good team, we’re playing them twice in quite quick succession. They play a lot of good rugby, that’s why I’m looking forward to it.”

TEAM: Webb, Oakey, Barron, Mottram, Tobin, Ring, Denney, Redman,Keen, Clark, Williams, Hughes-Gage, Thompson, Everett, Turner.