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Andrew McClintock rallies troops at Southend Rugby Club after Henley defeat
SOUTHEND’S acting skipper Andrew McClintock urged his side to remain upbeat, despite suffering a comprehensive 64-7 defeat against Henley on Saturday.
The Seasiders were easily over-run by the early league leaders at Warners Bridge.
But McClintock felt it was not all doom and gloom for his side.
“The scoreline was a fair reflection of the game, but we improved in a number of areas and played well in patches,” said the 34-year-old.
“After the defeat to Shelford a lot of soul-searching went on – but we were much better in the line-out and the scrum on Saturday and you certainly couldn’t fault us for effort.
“Henley looked stronger than I’ve ever seen before and I think they will be up there all season.
“But for us there were real signs of progress and if we hadn’t had two tries disallowed it might have been a different story.
“There’s certainly no need for us to be down in the dumps this week and now it’s all about being ready and properly focused for the game against Lydney this weekend.”
Henley took just 10 minutes to open the scoring with a penalty from James Comben, but Southend hit back with a try from winger Danny Cleare which Liam MacGeachy converted to make it 7-3.
However, that proved to be the Seasiders’ only points of the afternoon as Henley’s big, fit and professional team put them to the sword.
Southend faced wave after wave of fluent attacking rugby and were unable to come up with an answer.
Henley put phase after phase together without knocking on or losing the ball and the tries started to flow.
In the space of 12 minutes they scored four with Comben touching down twice and Martin Nutt and Liam O’Neil also going through.
Comben converted three of the efforts with most of them coming through the middle of Southend’s defensive line.
As a result, Henley went into the break with a bonus point secured and leading 29-7.
The Seasiders kept trying and desperately defended for their lives but, apart from a few minutes when they actually managed to go through a few phases of their own, it was only a matter of how many points Henley could score.
Five tries followed with Comben, Nutt, Robin Stapley, Richard Briggs and Andrew Downing all scoring.
Comben added a conversion and O’Neil added a further three to leave Southend’s director of rugby Chris Green a frustrated figure at the final whistle.
“We’ve got to know when to generate quick ball and when to use it because that didn’t happen against Henley,” said Green.
“We have a team that should be competitive but we weren’t on the day and credit to Henley because they were too good for us.”
Southend: Billings, Sansom, MacGeachy, Vaughan, Cleare, Jones, Branch, Bailey, Keenan, Strachan, Cook, McClintock, Barker, L Guess, Hudson.
Replacements: Ashton, Grier, Burr, Douglas & Reeman.