Monday 1 November 2010

Simon Cross, on the match

After last Saturday's game T'owd Tin Pot - reappearing after his long hibernation - interviewed Simon Cross, Accies Head coach, about the game and the play offs ahead.

T'oTP - Simon, the StewMel game could have deen a difficult one for the Accies?

SC - Yes, it was one we could have let slip even though we had a really good week's training, with good effort and intensity shown by the players - though, of course, that is never a true indication of a match-day performance. And, yes, were hesitant come Saturday, owing to the volatile nature of derby results.

T'oTP - I see you had to make a few changes for the game, how did that effect the team?

SC - The changes were one reason for nervousness of the coaches as there was an unknown quantity to the new playing partnerships. With no Berthinussen, Douglas, Evans or Adams in the backline and Blyth missing in the forwards, there was a new look to the team.

T'oTP - How did the forwards perform, especially with the new prop?

SC - Jackson, who came in for Blyth at tight-head, showed that he has the talent to compete at this level.. The Stew Mel scrum is a well drilled unit and the Accies pack certainly matched them at set piece. McSorley kept the Edinburgh Pro, Colin Philips, quiet and once the decision making in the lineout had improved, Jeffers showed good accuracy with his throwing. Liness and Murray both made good impacts off the bench and kept the tempo of the game high with good line breaks and off-loading abilities.

T'oTP - The second and back rows were less effected, what was your view of their performance throughout the game?

SC - The back five in the scrum are the heartbeat of this side. In effect we are playing with five flankers and provided that we win our set piece, its looking like a tactic that will work for us. Pike learned some valuable lessons in his lineout calling, putting unnecessary pressure on the thrower initially, but he adapted fast and finished off well. Snape and Lamb caused StewMel problems all afternoon at the breakdown, we certainly have an embarrassment of riches at openside. Teague and Drennan hammered away at the opposition defensive line all afternoon, creating much of the go-forward that enabled the backs to play in space.

T'oTP - It was the backs that were most effected by the personnel changes, were you happy with the result?

SC -Most pleasing was the effectiveness of the half back pairing and the centre partnership. Mike Campbell came back in at 9, too good effect, Ruairidh Bonner moved out to 10. With Evans and Douglas out injured, R Bonner demonstrated that we have excellent strength in depth in the 10 position. Browne had his best game in an Accies shirt, consistently doing the simple things well. Atkin worked hard and defended very well, his pace causing StewMel headaches and reinforcing why he has been selected in the Scotland U20's squad.

T'oTP - That stands good for the next few weeks, so what was your view on the back 3?

SC - The Back 3 had a field day in terms of counter attack and time in possession. Whilst Dickie didn't get on the score sheet he played well, turning provider on a number of occasions, rather than scorer. If Dickie doesn't get you, then Coupar or Sole will, that's the nature of our Back 3. They work hard for each other in defence as well as attack, this is a team game and these guys are starting to understand that.

T'oTP - There were some young lads on the bench - excluding Greg Campell - three were under 20, were you pleased with their contribution?

SC - The impact of the bench shouldn't go unnoticed, Liness, Murray and Campbell added real physicality in the second half up front. Euan Bonner showed signs of quality in his 30 minutes at 10, congratulations to him for his debut appearance this season.

T'oTP - Finally, your overall view and thoughts of the next stage?

SC - It's important that we enjoy victories like this, they don't come around too often. It's also important to understand that we have work to do in our bid to finish in the top four in this next league. We need to judge ourselves by P1 standards from now on, and we all need to work out what each of us is going to do to improve, just that little bit more. 

T'oTP - Thank you Simon, keep it going.


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