WE go to Swinton next Sunday (September 10) knowing we have to win to avoid relegation from the KP Championship after two seasons in the sport’s second tier.
Following our 24-18 home defeat by Toulouse Olympique and Rochdale’s 16-8 win against the Lions at the Crown Oil Arena, Hornets are virtually safe, but Roughyeds know they will go to Heywood Road needing a win to keep their survival hopes alive.
Said coach Scott Naylor: “The Rochdale win doesn’t make much difference to us really. We always knew we would have to go to Swinton and win and that’s how it is.”
Admitting to experiencing mixed emotions about the Toulouse game, he said Roughyeds couldn’t have done any more in terms of effort, hard work and playing with the right attitude, but he felt the decisive 10-minute bad patch in the second half was more the home side’s own fault rather than the French side’s dominance or superiority.
He said: “To a man we were absolutely fantastic in how hard we tried and in the effort we put in. We just had a 10-minute blip midway through the second half when we went away from what was working for us and gave Toulouse too much ball and field position.
“It was disappointing because it was the result of what we didn’t do rather than the result of Toulouse getting on top of us. You can’t give Toulouse that sort of scope; they’re too good a side. Their record proves that and everyone in the division knows it anyway, especially when they have Jon Ford guiding them around the park.
“They also started getting penalties at the ruck for things we had been doing all the game — I couldn’t understand that — and, after conceding two quick tries, we were suddenly chasing the game.
“We were never going to beat a side like Toulouse by 20 or 30 points. They should really have qualified for the Middle 8s. We would have been delighted with a win by one score and things were going right for us until we stepped away from doing the things that had kept us in the game up to then.
“Once they got a roll on they were almost impossible to stop because they had so much strength and speed.
“When we kept things simple we were solid but when we tried to be complicated and started making things up as we along, we played into Toulouse’s hands and gave then the opportunities to play like we all know they can.
“Nevertheless, it was a tremendous effort and we’ll go to Swinton with spirits high and with all guns blazing.”