Dan Richmond, Sheffield Tigers’ director of rugby, says his team displayed ‘true steel and belief’ to pick up only their second league victory of the season against Harrogate at the weekend.
Alex Drage drove over for the winning try from the right wing in the 87th minute, to win their National 2 North clash 17-16.
It was the Tigers’ defensive display, though, that caught the eye after they produced one of their finest back-line performances of the season to subdue a Harrogate side that went into the game as one of the division’s highest scorers.
“The guys worked hard to get that result,” Richmond told the Telegraph.
“The momentum shifted in the second half after we controlled large periods of the first.
“The difference this week from any other week this season is that, even though we were eight points down at one stage, they did not panic.
“I am so pleased for the group and one thing no-one can question is the desire these players have shown.
“That steel and belief really shone through.”
Last week Richmond had said he was looking to starve their opponents of possession throughout the game, and the former Northampton Saints captain was pleased with how his players reacted to the change in strategy.
“We worked on a couple of things over the course of last week and you could see a clear difference,” he said.
“The players adapted to that well and really restricted the space that Harrogate had and the players worked for each other and produced a real selfless performance.”
Richmond, though, is under no illusions of the importance of this week’s upcoming fixture, away at Dudley Kingswinford.
Dudley have lost all 12 of their fixtures so far this season, but Richmond insists he is not taking the table-proppers lightly as Tigers look to win back-to-back games for the first time this season.
“First and foremost we are looking to win on the road,” Richmond added.
“We have got to be squeaky clean with the referee and Dudley are going to be scrapping for their lives.
“When you are in that position, you give an extra ten per cent so the challenge for us will be to back up those recent performances.”
Meanwhile, Ben Wade believes Sheffield simply “ran out of time” in their narrow 21-18 defeat away at Malton and Norton last weekend.
Judging on the last three performances, though, Wade - Sheffield’s director of rugby - believes that, despite the three defeats, his side have turned a corner: “The things we worked on went well,” he said.
“We had two tries disallowed and we simply just ran out of time in the end.
“It’s disappointing because we should have taken more from it, we should have won.
“We got the bonus point though from what is a really tough place to go and I believe we are slowly getting there.”
Wade’s latest recruit, Ryan Seabright, put in a man of the match performance against Malton but has been ruled out of his side’s next match against Huddersfield Y.M.C.A this Saturday with a cracked cheekbone.
Despite his latest loss, though, Wade highlighted a number of positive performances from his players from the weekend - and believes that, if they perform on the day against Huddersfield, they will get their rewards.
“Huddersfield have been high-flying this season and made some key signings over the summer, but it all comes down to the day,” Wade said.
“And I believe if my lads perform, we can get the result our performances are deserving at the moment.”