Esher chief still upbeat for British and Irish Cup

Esher Rugby team manager Dave Page insists the Surrey side are not in crisis despite nine games without a win.


The Championship side lost their opening British and Irish Cup game 33-14 at home to Welsh Premiership side Llanelli last weekend.


It was their seventh successive defeat in all competitions as they head into their second British and Irish Cup Cup game at Melrose on Saturday.
Eshe


then face a daunting challenge in the Championship at home to Nottingham next Tuesday in a rearranged game.


Nottingham won the reverse clash 40-13 at Meadow Lane in September but Page insists Esher have a squad capable of beating both Melrose and Nottingham.


He said: “Clearly confidence is a bit low but that can all change with a win and we have picked a team capable of doing that at Melrose. But I don’t think there’s a crisis of confidence or anything like that.


“But we have got to go back to basics. Rugby is a simple game but we have got to go back to zero and start from there.


“That starts with our defence. We are missing one-on-one tackles and we let in some soft tries against Llanelli.


“But we have also got to be capable to changing from plan A to plan B. We all want to play an all-singing, expansive game but if it’s not working, sometimes you have to change and stick it up your jumper for a while.


“We have selected a side to face Melrose with one eye on the Nottingham game but it’s a real chance for several players to show us what they can do.


“Jamie Mackenzie did well when he came on at scrum-half against Llanelli and he has a chance to prove he deserves the No 9 shirt.


“Then we have selected Chris Rowland at hooker on Saturday and the front row of Tim Tunnicliff and Darren O’Reilly all have a chance to show they should be first-choice starters.”


Esher won three out of their first six Championship games, including stunning home wins over mighty Bristol and high-flying local rivals London Welsh.


But Page believes that impressive start may have back-fired. He added: “When we had those good wins everybody expected the world of us.


“Maybe we thought we were world-beaters and obviously we weren’t. But we have to get back to doing the basics right and if we do that then we can start winning games again.”


Esher hope Saturday’ game against Melrose will go ahead despite the forecast of more snow. But the Borders side have set up a contingency plan to switch the tie to Gala or a pitch at Murrayfield if their own pitch is unplayable.

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