Aggression is the name of the game for Stanley

Tom Redman
Tom Redman

Eastbourne Rugby Club head coach Roger Stanley has urged his players to show more aggression as they face up to their relegation battle.

The Blue and Golds suffered their sixth defeat from six matches when they lost at home to high-flying Folkestone at Park Avenue on Saturday.

Stanley’s side are low on confidence, have an injury list as long as your arm, a points difference of -195 and this Saturday face a daunting prospect of a trip to third place Medway.

Stanley could be forgiven for indulging in a touch of self-pity but he insists his makeshift side will be up for battle this Saturday and wants them to show controlled aggression.

“I want our players to show a bit of anger about the position they are in, “He said. “Against Folkestone we missed too many first up tackles and were not aggressive enough in the tackles in general and around the ruck.

“When that starts to happen you are in trouble. But we know we are better than this and the players have to go out and prove it to themselves.

“We are in a relegation battle, there is no doubt about that and we have to face up to that.”

Stanley (pictured) insists he will not hide behind injuries and unavailability but it is obviously a key factor in the Blue and Golds poor form this season.

First teamers Richard Baron, Jon Oakey, Sam Johns, Matt Mottram, Rob Light, James Coultard, Max Cheater, Will Bettles are all injured and are unavailable this Saturday. A further eight players on the fringes of the first team are also out.

Stanley added, “I could pick a team from the players I have unavailable and they would give the current firsts a good game. It has been tough in terms of picking a settled side but I will not use that as an excuse.

“It will be the same situation in clubs across the country. Rugby is a physical game and you are always going to get injuries. We have to accept that and get on with the job, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”

Eastbourne beat Medway at Park Avenue last season but lost the return fixture. The Kent outfit are in good form this season and have won four from their six matches. Last week they beat Crawley 5-34 and will no doubt look at Eastbourne’s form this season and expect a comfortable afternoon.

“We can’t make it easy for them,” Stanley added. “They are a tough prospect at home but we have to go there and play with nothing to lose. I want to see an improvement from the lads this week.”