Crowle Disappointed With Sloppy Performance
Blues team manager Rob Crowle was extremely disappointed with his side’s sloppy performance in the defeat to Bristol on Saturday, writes James Heneghan.
For the second week running Bedford let a comfortable half time lead slip as they crashed to a 17-15 loss after a late try from Jack Tovey.
Crowle said: “We certainly didn’t play well enough. The spirit was good but we kicked far too much ball away and that’s not our game. We know we’re a good side with ball in hand but we didn’t play to our strengths.
“We’re a bit disappointed with the Bristol penalty count and the stop-start nature of the game didn’t suit us, I think that was Bristol’s game plan in this hot weather.
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Davey optimistic yet cautious after victory
Brett Davey has given a cautious appraisal of his side’s 30-16 bonus-point victory over Leeds Carnegie in round five of the Championship.
The Knights have now won three consecutive matches and scored four tries in each of their last four games, but Davey refuses to be complacent and believes the team still have a long way to go if they are to continue to improve and challenge for promotion this season.
“I’m very pleased and we’re in a good place at the moment, but I’d have been massively disappointed if we’d lost, as we didn’t play brilliantly.
“There were still areas where we need to tighten up, the players are beginning to realise their potential now - an away win over Leeds is a reason to be happy, but we’re not resting on our laurels, we need to be constantly improving.”
Davey credited his players with sustaining pressure in the second period to break down Leeds’ resistance:
“In my mind there was only one side that would win it, the final try exaggerates the score-line but it was a fair reflection of the game.”
Leeds were without several key players due to World Cup duty and injuries, but Davey believes they will bounce back from their run of defeats and challenge the Knights for play-off success.
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Clive Stuart-Smith is hoping to put his injury nightmare behind him by making his Esher comeback at Rotherham on Saturday.
The former England Saxons scrum-half has played just half a dozen games since signing for the Surrey club last year.
He suffered a cruciate injury against Birmingham last October which ruled him out for the rest of the Championship campaign.
Then the jinxed No 9 broke a bone in his right hand in the pre-season clash at Saracens in August to leave Esher seriously short on scrum- half options with Jamie Mackenzie on World Cup duty with Canada.
But Stuart-Smith returned to full contact training this week and could feature in the squad for the tough trip to Rotherham, the club where Esher chief Mike Schmid starred as player and coach.
Schmid said: "Clive hasn’t had much luck with injuries since he got here but we’ll see where he is after training this week and go from there.
"We want our senior players back but at the same time we don’t want to rush them so they have a setback which could keep them out for a longer period."
Former Bath and Harlequins centre Tom Cheeseman could also be in line for his Esher debut after suffering a knee injury in the pre-season game at Twickenham Stoop.
That is welcome news for Schmid after discovering that centre Arran Cruickshanks could be out for two months with a broken bone in his foot.
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Mike MacDonald is set to arrive back in Leeds today having completed his record breaking part in the USA's World Cup campaign.
MacDonald became the USA's most capped player of all time and set a new benchmark for World Cup appearances for the Eagles during the tournament in New Zealand.
He will arrive back in the UK tomorrow and could be set to play some part in Saturday's game at London Scottish.
Nottingham travel to Bristol at the weekend expecting another battle in the Championship following their bruising encounter with Rotherham Titans in their 30-30 draw at Meadow.
It was a game where no prisoners were taken with two players, one from each side, carried off on stretchers and taken to hospital, although they were released after precautionary check-ups. And three others were among the walking wounded.
Amid all the crunching tackles, there were was some very good rugby played and Nottingham's director of rugby Glenn Delaney knows that his players will have to up the ante again against Bristol.
"This is a tough time for us," he said. "There are no easy games. We are not going to be given anything for nothing. We are going to have to work for it, especially at Bristol.
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Canadian international forwards Aaron Carpenter and Tyler Hotson will arrive back at Plymouth Albion early next week.
The duo have been playing in the World Cup in New Zealand.
They are now back in Canada where they will recuperate for a few days before heading to England.
Albion's chairman of rugby Graham Dawe said: "Now they are back in Canada they can have a few days to rest their bodies and get mentally prepared for the Championship. "But we are looking forward to seeing them back in Plymouth.
Albion could have done with the pair back for this weekend as club captain Sean-Michael Stephen is definitely out of the game after breaking his hand against the Cornish Pirates last weekend, while fellow back-rower Herbie Stupple is likely to miss another week after suffering a nasty head injury against Rotherham on September 16.
Dawe said: "We did not plan for them to be back this week. "You always like to have players playing but you have to look at their welfare.
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