SOUTHEND Rugby head coach Andy Holloway wants Saturday’s 25-23 defeat to Taunton to be a kick up the backside for his players.

The previously unbeaten Seasiders were narrowly seen off at Warners Bridge.

And Holloway is now demanding the right kind of his reaction from his team.

“Maybe in the bigger scheme of things this was something that needed to happen and it’s a reality check for us,” said Holloway.

“The result and performance were both poor and we let ourselves down.

“We made poor decisions and took too many risks in the wet conditions.

“It was quite depressing but although we didn’t play well we still could and probably should have won.

“The officials didn’t help either but that wasn’t the reason we lost and now we have to bounce back because that certainly wasn’t the real Southend.”

Despite the eventual score-line, the Seasiders started well and went 7-0 early on when a try from flanker Dan Johnson was converted by Andrew Frost. A Frost penalty then made it 10-0 but Southend soon began to leak penalties.

Two of them were converted by their full-back Gary Kingdom and Taunton were back in the match at 10 – 6.

Southend then suffered a further blow when skipper Chris Green was yellow carded and the visitors took advantage with a try from Christian Gervais which Kingdom converted to make it 13-10 to Taunton at half-time.

The Seasiders hit back after the break with a determined individual try from Frost who also added the conversion to make it 17-13.

But Taunton replied with a try of their own from winger Jason Luff but the effort angered the home supporters as it came courtesy of a blatant forward pass. Kingdom missed the conversion but Taunton led 18-17 and soon went further ahead courtesy of a baffling penalty try decision, which also saw Southend’s scrum half Sam Arnott yellow carded.

A successful Kingdom conversion put Taunton 25-17 in front and things soon got a whole lot worse when Frost was also sin binned.

Southend held out with 13 men and when Frost returned he kicked two successful penalties to make it 25-23.

That did at least secure the Seasiders a losing bonus point but it could not stop Southend suffering their first defeat of the season. The Seasiders are now sixth in the table ahead of this weekend’s trip to Worthing.

>Southend: Frost, Sansom, Vaughan, Stanley, Billings, Boughtwood, Arnott, Williams, Keenan, Irvine, Waring, McClintock, Green, Johnson, Barker. Replacements: Bailey, Grier, Van der Molen, Gay & Hoult.