Barking will be ‘big underdogs’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 February 2015

Barking head coach Steve Wagstaff. Pic: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO

Barking head coach Steve Wagstaff. Pic: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO

Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY

Wagstaff wants better against Colchester

Barking Rugby Club’s head coach Steve Wagstaff says his side are ‘massive underdogs’ for their London One North clash at leaders Colchester on Saturday, writes Lee Power.

The Gale Street outfit travel on the back of a 36-21 win over North Walsham last weekend, which snapped their three-game losing streak.

And they ran Colchester close in their earlier meeting this season, before slipping to a 34-29 defeat on home turf.

But Wagstaff said: “Colchester are a quality outfit, justifiably top of the table. They are a National Three team really and would compete well at that level.

“We’re massive underdogs and we need to up our game against the better teams and forget our second-half performance from last weekend.”

Tries from Jordan Saunders, Sam John, Sam Randall, Ash Wright and Tom Bateman led Barking to victory on Saturday, as they avenged the loss suffered in Norfolk.

But Wagstaff was slightly concerned history might repeat itself at one point, having seen his side throw away a 23-0 lead to lose 32-28 in October.

He added: “We lost a completely winnable game up there, but we were really clicking in the first half last weekend. Everyone was playing to a structure and pattern and Ben Lloyd had one of his best performances in the first half. But we let it slip.

“I can’t be too critical, a win is a win and we got five points, which is what it is all about, but I wasn’t happy with the second-half performance.

“We’ve got to adapt to decisions. Our penalty count was justifiably high due to repeat offending and we nearly let them back in again by not taking the right options. We wanted to try and run at every opportunity and very nearly let it slip again.”

Wagstaff had praise for Joe Touma, who was ‘very good’ at the line-out, and said he couldn’t fault his front row trio.

And although Barking will be without the unavailable Randall this weekend, they are set to welcome Andrew Badcock back from a three-match ban.

“He’s a key player for us in the loose and line-out,” Wagstaff added. “We’ve got some good options and we will go up there to give Colchester a game. We’ve got to step up massively.”

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