What Scott said

Date published: Monday, June 24, 2013
NEITHER Scott Naylor nor his No 2 Lee Spencer was surprised by Hemel Stags’ physical strength, speed and rugby know-how.

They had prepared Oldham’s players for another hugely competitive clash with a Hemel side that was unchanged from the one which stunned North Wales Crusaders in their previous game, but which had seven new faces from the team which Roughyeds beat 30-12 in Hertfordshire on May 12.

Said Naylor: “This was always going to be a close contest because Hemel are a big, well-coached team. They played like we thought they would, with forwards running strong and straight, two good half-backs and speed on the outside.

“We got away with one when we snatched it in the dying seconds at South Wales last week, but we knew we would have to really step up to the mark for this game.

“We needed to be defensively tight and quick into the tackle and we had to control the rucks, which we did really well.

“If we do that okay, we are always capable of scoring points, as was proved again when we scored three tries in eight minutes late in the game.

“We had spoken at length during the week about the need to play with patience so that, if nothing else, we would still be in the game on the 65-minute mark and then we could step up a couple of notches for the last 15, and we did exactly that absolutely perfectly.

“We seem to keep coming up with the tries and the extra effort when it is most needed and hopefully that will continue.

“Winning is a habit and I’m stressing to the boys how important it is for them to keep on enjoying their rugby and playing with smiles on their faces.

“I don’t want to single anybody out because it was a good team performance by all 17, and all 17 put in big shifts and contributed significantly.

“We are finishing as well as we start, if not better, and I’m quietly very pleased at how things are going.

“We’ve got Gateshead away next Sunday and then Oxford down there. Now, that will be an important game.”