Garth Dew on the Luctonians Game

Date: 02 March 2017

Following a great home win against Leicester Lions last weekend, head coach Garth Dew has given us his thoughts ahead of the crucial home fixture against Luctonians this weekend.

Last week, as I wrote my programme article, no one in the league was giving us a chance of staying up this season, but an accurate and passionate display against 3rd place Leicester Lions produced a 21-5 victory that lifted us off the bottom, and all of a sudden there is a belief that we can fight our way out of the bottom 3.

After the game, match reporter Paul Outhwaite asked, ‘why are Hoppers so inconsistent? How can you suddenly produce such a win?’

For me the answer was simple, ‘we performed very well in the 3 fundamental areas that we highlight each week, when we do this, we tend to win.’

So what are these areas?

A few months back I set the lads ambitious but achievable goals – Complete 90% or more of tackles, make less than 10 handling errors, and give away less than 8 penalties.

If you can hit these targets then you are more than likely winning the territorial battle and limiting scoring opportunities for the opposition. Last week we made 83% of our tackles (the highest so far), made 12 handling errors (the conditions we very tricky), and gave away only 6 penalties. Throw in the fact we had massive scrum dominance, and you have a formula to win games at this level. In all our big home wins this season, we have performed well in these key areas.

Discipline is the most important area for me, as penalties lead to a territorial loss or points for the opposition. When we suffered a last minute loss to Scunthorpe, we gave away 16 penalties and were constantly defending driving mauls and giving up 3 points, before throwing it away at the end. Many of our losses haven’t been through a lack of effort, but through a lack of accuracy in the fundamentals of rugby.

The other area I haven’t mentioned that we performed well in last week was plain hard work and enthusiasm. We often talk about the need to ‘out enthuse’ the opposition, as that can give you the extra 10% you need to get the win, and we certainly did that against the Lions.

So the message is simple, if we are to stay up we need to hit our targets, go after scrum dominance and underpin it all with a massive desire to win and put our bodies on the line.

Now you know what to look out for this weekend, I hope to see you all get down to the club enjoying the game and getting behind the boys. Luctonians will be desperate to win to avoid being pulled further into the relegation battle… It should be a good one.

Up the Hoppers!

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