RUGBY UNION: Table-toppers prove to strong, but it’s valuable experience for Stags
- Credit: Archant
Head coach Damien Whales insists defeat at the hands of the Midlands Division One East table-toppers last Saturday was a valuable experience for his youngsters.
A youthful Stags side, missing a number of key men, went down 33-5 to title-bound Newbold-on-Avon at The Racecourse.
Huntingdon rarely made it into opposition territory as they spent the opening period with their backs to the wall.
Two tries eased the visitors into a 12-point advantage and a third touch-down put them further clear early in the second half before Stags were reduced to 13 men.
Glen McIntyre saw red following a flare-up with an opponent (who also received his marching orders) and Roger Shakespeare was dismissed soon after for a dangerous tackle.
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Two further scores from Newbold followed before Stags defied their numerical disadvantage to claim a consolation try when captain Doug Bentley, who was described as being ‘outstanding’ by Whales, went over in the dying moments.
“I can’t have any complaints about the result,” admitted Whales. “We were well beaten by a very strong Newbold side who showed why they have spent most of the season at the top of the table.
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“We fielded a young team ourselves and they will have gained significant experience from that type of game.”
Whales is expecting two very different tests in Stags’ remaining fixtures. They go to a Northampton Old Scouts side who are battling to avoid the drop this Saturday, before ending the campaign with a home date against third-placed Old Northamptonians on April 22.
Whales added: “They will be tough games for different reasons. Old Scouts need to pick up wins to avoid relegation while ONs are a good outfit.
“We need results ourselves to nail down fourth place and that’s the goal.”