Bridgman urges Gosport & Fareham to avoid mud wrestle

Barry Bridgman, left. Picture: Neil Marshall (161436-10)
Barry Bridgman, left. Picture: Neil Marshall (161436-10)
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Barry Bridgman warned Gosport & Fareham not to get involved in a mud wrestling battle against KCS Old Boys in London two south west at Gosport Park (2pm).

The head coach feels a forward-dominated contest would harm his side’s chances of picking up a much-needed win.

He wants to see his team rise above the potentially slippery conditions and play a more expansive game.

‘I walked across Gosport Park in midweek and it is as wet as I have ever seen it,’ said Bridgman.

‘The conditions will be heavy underfoot and difficult.

‘Our strength lies with our good set of running backs but the conditions won’t help them. We have to overcome the conditions.

‘If we can get the ball out to our three-quarters at the right time we can open opposition defences up.

‘It is important we avoid any mud wrestling in the forwards and try to get the ball away from the breakdown early.

‘We have also been guilty at times of trying to play too much rugby in our own half.

‘Energy has been wasted trying to beat our way upfield and sometimes you need to take a more direct route.

‘The key to success will be in playing rugby in the right areas.’

Gosport & Fareham will be helped by having Alex Duncombe back at outside half.

Duncombe is a specialist number 10 who has the ability to control a game with his kicking.

Too many times this season Bridgman has been forced to field non-specialists in the key position.

‘The people who have come in have done well but it is not the same as having a regular, experienced practitioner,’ said the head coach.

With Duncombe in the side, Bridgman believes there is a better chance the hosts can carry out their game plan.

Although one area of concern is in the front row where he is short on prop forwards.

Karl Dawson, who has been a revelation this season, took a bang to the head in training and is ruled out for three weeks, while tight-head prop Daniel O’Donohue is only 50-50 because of a shoulder injury.

Third-placed KCS will present the hosts, who are looking to avoid a third successive league defeat, with a tough challenge.

But Bridgman will take heart from Gosport & Fareham’s last home game when his side only narrowly lost to high-flying Old Reigatian.

‘Against Old Reigatian we would have won if we had taken our chances,’ he added.

‘We have to make sure we are quick out of the blocks.

‘It will be important to play a front-foot game from the start.’

Gosport & Fareham: Heron, Lewis, Dugan Wayne, Foster, Taylor, Dunscombe, Dugan Wes, Gamblin, Collard, O’Donohue, Woodford, Trevett, Hill, Carpenter, Shepherd. Replacements: Titchenor, Batley, McRoberts K