North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray was pleased how his side battled on at Widnes Vikings after falling 14-0 behind.

It could have been easy for Crusaders to roll over at that point, but they responded admirably and were arguably the better side for the remainder of the half, reducing the deficit to 14-10 by half-time.

“We only had two sets in the first 20 minutes and those two came right off our tryline,” Murray said.

“In the second part of the first-half, we ran at a 94 per cent completion rate and got some good ball territory.

“We put Widnes under a bit of pressure and scored a couple of nice tries.

“We played some nice rugby and I thought our fitness levels looked a match for Widnes at times.

“We ran out of a little bit of steam towards the end, but I’m immensely proud of the players.”

The trip to Widnes was Crusaders’ second outing of pre-season – and Murray was happy with how side built on their opening display at Barrow.

He said: “We gave them a few things to focus on from the Barrow game and I thought we improved in a lot of areas I wanted them to.

“It’s hard to compare when we’ve got a totally different team to last year, but you look at where we are compared to this time last year and I think we surprised a few people.

“Some people may have thought that Widnes would run away with it, but full credit to my team as we were a match for Widnes at certain points of the game.

“You’ve got to give credit to Widnes because they’ve got some quality and are coached by a very experienced bloke in Tim Sheens.

“They did enough when they had to at the right times in the game to keep the momentum in their favour.

“Good teams do that, but our lads can come off the pitch with a lot of credit.

“We can dust ourselves off over the course of the next week and look forward to Whitehaven.”