West must work on set piece attacks say coach

West Rugby Club new head coach Ewan Smith.'Pic by Alan Murray 07-08-12
West Rugby Club new head coach Ewan Smith.'Pic by Alan Murray 07-08-12

LAST Saturday West travelled to Hamilton on cup duty and although they had a weakened squad due to players spending time with their families over Christmasm, they made a good account of themselves.

Having already suffered their heaviest defeat of the season to Hamilton a few weeks earlier West knew they would be up against it with the opposition selecting their strongest available team.

West performed admirably with some good attacking and excellent defensive play and despite going down 47-13, the scoreline could have been much worse.

Hamilton, with their bigger and more experienced pack dominated set piece, especially scrums where they wheeled and marched West around the park at will. Around 35 of Hamilton’s points came as a result of pushover tries which West tried in vain to counter.

Getting out a settled competitive pack has been an issue for West all season and when playing against teams from a higher level any weaknesses are exposed.

This Saturday West take on fellow relegation candidates Dunfermline at home.

Head coach Ewan Smith said: “This last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for us with a lot of our players returning home for Christmas so preparation for games hasn’t been what I would normally like. We saw off Dalziel two weeks ago in atrocious conditions without conceding any points. Our defence in that game was immense. Last week we knew we would be up against it after the doing Hamilton gave us a few weeks ago and although the score line suggests differently the boys stuck to the task in hand and produced a very good display with our defence being fantastic again.

“However set piece was a huge disappointment and will be a huge focus for us this week. We will also have a few of our regular forwards back which will bolster our scrummage and with young 17-year-old Mark Vallance and Neil Copland doing so well for us last week we have a bit of a real competition in the front row.“