Gosport & Fareham will go ‘old school’ to banish defensive woes

Gosport &  Fareham battle with Guildford.   Picture: Paul Jacobs (151607-7)
Gosport & Fareham battle with Guildford. Picture: Paul Jacobs (151607-7)
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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Neil McRoberts has promised his Gosport & Fareham players a ‘brutal’ training session in the week ahead.

McRoberts slammed his team’s poor defending as they opened their London one south home campaign with a 50-29 defeat to Guildford at Gosport Park.

The Blue & Golds have conceded more than 100 points in their opening two games and that for McRoberts is unacceptable.

‘I have made it clear to the players what the next training session will be about,’ said coach McRoberts.

‘It might be a bit old school but we need to beat the softness out of us.

‘The players can expect a brutal, physical session to get them into the right defensive mindset.

‘We need to front up and knuckle down to doing the hard yards.

‘The reality is some of the players are quite happy to play on the front foot but not prepared to do the hard work when it counts.

‘That is why Guildford ran in 50 points.

‘Every time we scored we switched off and let them back in.

‘In this league, if you give your opponents an inch they are going to punish you.

‘We gave Guildford far more than just an inch.’

The home side started the game well, pushing Guildford back against the wind in the opening five minutes.

Poor decision making meant the home side failed to capitalise and they then fell apart to concede three quickfire tries.

Wes Dugan got the hosts on the board in the 27th minute, darting over on the blind-side.

But almost immediately sloppy defence saw them concede at the other end.

Number eight Chris Thompson powered over before half-time with Wayne Dugan adding the conversion.

‘When we only trailed 24-12 at the break I expected us to kick on in the second half with the strong wind behind us,’ said McRoberts.

Jack Brawn put the home side within seven points of the visitors.

He scored five minutes into the second half with a well-worked try and it looked bright for Gosport at the stage.

Once again, though, they lost concentration and within two minutes more sloppy defending allowed Guildford to restore their 12-point advantage.

It looked good for Gosport when Wes Dugan scored his second try of the afternoon.

But the hosts fell away poorly at the end and now they face some tough work on the training field.

‘You can’t expect to win games unless you work hard in defence,’ said McRoberts.

‘It was the same last season and we had to have a harsh training session to put things right.

‘Hopefully it will work again.’

There were some positives for McRoberts on a disappointing afternoon.

Prop forward Ben Lanigan made an excellent debut, Mark Pollard was fantastic in the line-out and the loose and Chris Thompson put in another good performance.

Now Gosport have to put those individual displays into a winning formula and deliver as a team.

‘It is frustrating because we have got the players capable of doing it,’ said McRoberts.