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RUGBY: Titans entertain Lydney at Hyde Park tomorrow
3:20pm Friday 19th October 2012 in Sport
TITANS entertain Lydney at Hyde Park on Saturday (October 20, 3pm) still reeling from their last-second defeat by Clifton last weekend, writes Colin Bentley.
Musing on last Saturday’s encounter reminded me that rugby was once described as a game of ‘physical chess’ – and so it is.
Teams have front line trench troopers, lightning strike players, warhorse forwards, heavy and light cavalry, indomitable castles and midfield generals.
The trick to playing success is how well the elements are deployed and how they perform their functions on the day.
Taunton Titans have a near full array of talent in their armoury; indeed at Hyde Park on Saturday they were arguably a country mile better manned as athletes than their visitors from Clifton.
In a devastating endgame, a winning score felled Taunton’s King in a last second check mate that stunned the home crowd to silence.
Credit must be given to the dogged way the Bristol visitors stuck to their task to grab a 17-18 win, taking the spoils home to Clifton.
Taunton were sucked into a relentless street fight with Clifton’s warhorse forwards.
Despite being fitter, faster and stronger, Taunton were unable or unwilling to break the grip of Clifton’s dogged and determination battle hardened pack.
On the few occasions Taunton had the wit to spread the game wide and actually run with the ball, Clifton looked vulnerable.
Indeed a sweeping move at the end of the first half resulted in a fine flowing play that left Clifton chasing shadows and Titans scoring points.
Leading 7-3 at the interval the recipe for success was apparently clear to all but the Taunton Team.
Failing to use their undoubted assets, Titans contrived to surrender the lead right on the stroke of full time.
It was a disaster that left the home fans stunned in silence and Clifton justifiably celebrating after stealing the points from a devastated Titans.
The pressure is now beginning to mount on Titans with the visit of Lydney, famed for their uncompromising style.
If Titans deploy their attacking players well they will win this game.
If they are sucked into the trench war tactics enjoyed by the Lydney pack, Titans will find it hard to win.
With a trip to in form Launceston on Saturday week the game is a must win for the Taunton side.