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Players respond to Biljon's half-time hairdryer

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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THE Pirates coaches were quick to draw post-match comparisons between this display and the one against Bristol a year ago at the same stage of the competition.

Yet as the players left the field at half-time to cat-calls and cries of frustration from some in the grandstand, I doubt if those thoughts formed the basis for their pointed interval pep-talk.

For the record that game also came on the back of a trip to London Scottish and the Pirates trailed 22-7 at the break against an experimental Bristol side before waking up after a dressing room roasting and running in 43 unanswered points in a crazy second forty.

Harvey Biljon admitted that he and Ian Davies were angry with the team on Sunday after a first-half lacking in passion, energy, direction and the points the fans craved.

Carmarthen led 20-13 and were good value for it having been allowed to play and visibly grow in confidence.

With no disrespect whatsoever to the Welsh visitors, the Pirates should have beaten them by a good 30 or 40 points and could still have done that when they found several forward gears after the interval.

Consolation

For half an hour they were in total control scoring four tries and cruelly exposing the limitations of the Quins, but then old habits returned to haunt the Pirates as they backed off and gifted two late consolation tries.

Ultimately the Cornish Pirates could do no more than win the game and clinch a winning bonus point which is exactly what they did, even if they did only play up to par for a shade over 30 minutes.

But allowing the Welshmen a losing bonus point for scoring four tries should leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the Cornish side.

Losing skipper Chris Morgan with a broken arm so early in the game will have hurt them too, but all things being equal I can't criticise the coaches for what happened.

I talk to Ian and Harvey regularly and the rugby message they preach is consistent and forthright.

Their challenge right now is to find ever different and unique ways to download that information into the subconscious minds of their charges so that a team which, and let's be honest here, was ripped apart in the summer knows exactly how to respond in any given circumstance.

It must be every coach's nightmare to spend all week preparing the team for a match through detailed planning of every facet and likely scenario of the game, only to witness the plan get discarded the moment the squad take the field.

That, it would seem, is what happened here against Carmarthen, but they won. In the pre-Stirling era the outcome of such games was so often different.

Now we trek north to Scotland and the relative unknown of cup rugby in Dundee. Winning well with a performance to match is paramount and the pressure is on because when the Championship resumes and Leeds come to town, there truly will be no margin for error.

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