Cockles head coach Steve Perry talks about the opening game - and the trip to Launceston

PUBLISHED: 12:10 10 September 2019

Exmouth at home to Barnstaple. Ref exsp 35 19TI 9020. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth at home to Barnstaple. Ref exsp 35 19TI 9020. Picture: Terry Ife


Exmouth head coach Steve Perry was delighted with the character that his Cockles side showed in the opening day 17-all draw with Ivybridge at the Imperial Ground.

He said: "Trailing 17-10 with six minutes to go in the opening day of the season with a few tired legs - it was a warm old day too - could well have led to a side - any side - 'folding' - but what we saw was a team that dug deep and showed real resolve, desire and character to finish strongly and get the draw that, on reflection, was probably a fair result give n the 85 or so minutes of action we saw."

He continued: "We have had a good pre-season and I was very pleased with how we approached the start of the opening league game. We scored two could tries and perhaps ought to have had more to show before they [Ivybridge] got a try back with the final play of the half.

"It was disappointing that we failed to press home our obvious advantage during a first half in which we fashioned a number of situations from which we could have got further scores."

So, going in 10-5 rather than 10-0, what was said at the break? Steve replied: "We were quite circumspect really. Obviously conceding so late in the half changes the interval mindset. However, we had played well for much of the first 40 minutes and the key was obviously for us to look to keep a good tempo to our game and hopefully start the second half as we had begun the match.

"We did just that, but did spurn a very good opportunity to score a third try before they hit us with two tries in quick succession."

From our point of view the first try was down to a missed tackle but there second was a piece of good skill by them down our right and sometimes you simply have to hold your hands up and say OK we were beaten in that moment by some fine individual skill."

Did you think the game had got away from you, trailing 17-10 with just six minutes left?

He responded: "Goodness no! Let's face it, plenty can happen in six minutes especially if you show the desire we did. We got level and then were the side pressing when the game ended, albeit with some of our players out on their feet and exhausted. It was very encouraging the way we dealt with the adversity of falling behind late on but refused to conceded and ultimately got something out of the game."

Next up, the Cockles got to Launceston on what is sure to be a special day in terms of the rugby career of the club's head coach who says: "I used to play at Launceston and have never taken a side back there for a competitive match - I went there in a pre-season game with Barnstaple, but this will be the first time I have gone there with a side for a meaningful contest."

As for the sort of challenge he feel his side face's, the Cockles head coach says: "They [Launceston] will be looking to start their home league campaign on a positive note. They lost heavily on the opening day of the season, beaten well by Exeter University, but you cannot read too much into that owing to the fact that the University have such a depth and wealth at talent, particularly at certain times of the year and Launceston may have had availability issues so we will prepare for a tough encounter against a side who will no doubt be keen to perform in front of their own supporters."

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