Following the 46-22 defeat at Newcastle Thunder last weekend, North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray says his side are focussed on finishing the season in seventh spot.
Defeat in the north-east means North Wales can’t reach the play-offs, but a victory over London Skolars at Queensway Stadium on Saturday (September 7) will guarantee them seventh place.
Despite coming on the wrong end of the scoreline against Newcastle, Murray was pleased that his under-strength side gave a good account of themselves.
“I couldn’t have asked for any more from the lads really,” he said.
“We had fans travelling all the way up here so it was important that we gave them something to shout about.
“We stuck to task all the way through, put some decent rugby together and we bombed a couple of tries so we could have had more points on the board.
“Newcastle have set their attention quite clear about what they want to do but, for large parts of the game, I thought we matched them in all areas.
“They had pace to burn and, when they did make the break, we couldn’t deal with it.
“I thought that was the main difference between the two teams really.”
With Crusaders having to play people out of position and losing further bodies to injury during the match, it would’ve been easy for them to give in once they started to concede points.
But they stuck to task and the 22 points North Wales recorded was the least they deserved.
“We kept going, there were two chances we bombed and then we managed to get two tries at the end,” Murray said.
“I was pleased for the players as I felt that was more of a fair reflection of how the game went.
“It wasn’t a whitewash and we gave a good account of ourselves.”
On the 2019 season to date, Murray added: “I’ve said it before that the three games we should’ve won at the start of the season have ended up costing us.
“We knew it was going to be tight this year.
“Our target was to try and sneak in that sixth spot and, with two games remaining, we were still in with a chance.
“I couldn’t have asked for much more from the lads.
“The challenge now is to finish in that seventh spot.
“It’s important we finish the season well against London on Saturday.”
With Crusaders’ clash against Skolars doubling up as a Family Fun Day and a number of North Wales’ players retiring at the end of the season, there are plenty of reasons to cheer on the lads at Queensway Stadium on Saturday.