SOUTHEND’S director of rugby Chris Green offered no excuses after his side were thrashed 81-12 at high-flying Henley.
The home-side ran in 11 tries during a one sided encounter.
And Green was left disappointed by the display.
“We lost four players between Thursday night and the start of the game but that’s no excuse and those who went out there should have done better,” said Green.
“The score-line tells the story of the match but now we have to move on and do much better.
“There should be about five or six changes for the game this weekend and we will certainly need to see an improvement.”
The defeat was Southend’s sixth in succession and kept them second from bottom in the National Two standings.
In contrast, Henley’s win pushed them up to second in the table and their victory never looked in doubt.
The conditions and a firm fast pitch suited the Henley backs to a tee, so scrum half Jonah Holmes fed them quickly and efficiently every time he got the chance and they repaid him by putting Southend to the sword, running in10 tries with flanker Matt Payne adding another.
The Seasiders’ returning centre Mike Stanley scored two fine individual tries of his own in reply but that was all the visitors could muster.
Despite the end result, Southend did start brightly and took the game to Henley, pinning them in their own half for the first 10 minutes.
However, they were unable to make a breakthrough and fitness seemed to be a problem with a number of players starting to struggle early on.
Slow to the breakdown and slow to regain defensive positions left others isolated and gaps appeared everywhere.
Henley took full advantage and the floodgates opened.
Tries came from all over the place with their pacey backs breaking through at will.
Some woeful tackling from Southend didn’t help and they strode through like a knife through butter.
When Southend did get the ball they were knocked back by determined and committed tackling from the Henley players who hunted in packs.
The scrum didn’t fare any better and spent most of the game on the back foot with two or three of the forwards struggling to keep up.
All the Henley tries were scored in the same fashion, possession gained, quick ball caught at pace and fast running.
Southend had no answer to any of it and will need to bounce back quickly in a huge match against fellow strugglers Lydney this Saturday.
Southend: Jones, Sansom, Stanley, Vaughan, Cleare, MacGeachy, Arnott, Bailey, Keenan, Irvine, McClintock, Barker, Fombo, Hudson, Cook.
Replacements: Douglas, Grier, Strachan, Ashton & Daly