After running the National League 2 North leaders Stourbridge very close the weekend before, Dan Richmond was left disappointed with a number of individual performances after Sheffield Tigers defeat at Otley on Saturday.
The Tigers’ director of rugby watched on as his team fell to a seventh consecutive defeat – the latest a 40-16 defeat in the north of Leeds – and Richmond believes a number of his players let their performance levels dip at crucial stages during the game.
“Saturday’s performance against Otley was disappointing in aspects and a number of individual performances dipped at critical moments, which prevented us from pressurising the opposition at key times,” Richmond said.
“The players have reacted honestly and know they let themselves down at times, but it’s a testament to the squad’s spirit on they how they have reacted to address this and they continue to work very hard.”
Tigers return to Dore Moor this weekend ahead of the visit of Luctonians, who currently reside in fourth after winning their first five games in a row, and Richmond has insisted he wants his players to get back to basics ahead of the crucial home clash.
The former Northampton Saints captain also suggested that he may be willing to give an opportunity to the players who came off the bench in the defeat to Otley after they all put in committed and passionate performances.
“There’s a lot of competition for places which was evident on Saturday with the performances coming off the bench from Will Bennett, Josh Redfern and Michael Bradford, who brought great energy and aggression all around the park, tidying up the set pieces, and the good decision making and distribution from replacement scrum half Josh Bird.
“This week we’ll focus on our own game, continuing to reinforce the basics while keeping the areas which are working well for us.
“We need to start with tempo in front of our home crowd on Saturday.
“They really lifted the boys two weeks ago against Stourbridge and I know the supporters can do it again this week.”
Meanwhile, Sheffield director of rugby, Ben Wade, believes his side has ‘turned a corner’ after they put in the best performance of the season in the narrow 17-12 defeat away at Morpeth.
Sheffield led the game 12-0 at one stage, but despite the fight back from the home team, Wade was left praising a number of individual performances including vice captain, Tommy Marples, who was named captain for the day after he passed a fitness test.
Regular first team captain, Simon Tillyer, took a knock to the head in the home win over Alnwick the weekend before and he is also expected to miss the game against midtable Wheatley Hills at Abbeydale Park this weekend.
“We were very good and it certainly was our best performance of the season,” Wade told the Telegraph.
“It was also the best we have seen from Tommy Marples and the back row.
“There was a number of fine individual performances but we got caught out a few times towards the end and had a few decisions go against us which has cost us.
“Tommy led very well and all the other key players really played well as well. The all round performance was exceptional and the score line didn’t reflect the game at all.
“We are taking it a game at a time, but I believe we have now turned a corner.
“There is a positive feeling around the place at the minute and it will be nice to get another home victory this weekend.
“Wheatley have been a bit up and down recently and it is going to be tough in the scrum, but we will be ready for them.”