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DEFENCE coach James Pritchard admits that he found it hard to come to terms with Coventry’s second-half performance against Macclesfield despite the emphatic 61-14 final scoreline.

Cov rattled up eight tries in a dazzling first-half display to lead 54-7, but struggled to sustain any momentum after the break to the frustration of both supporters and coaches.

And Pritchard warns that any repeat in a run of tough games over the next few weeks, starting at Blackheath this Saturday, is likely to prove costly.

“I thought our attack was absolutely superb in the first half,” said Pritchard.

“It was the sort of rugby we want to play and what we train to do – bringing that intensity to the game, running at them, playing off the pack and using our power game as well at the scrum and line-out to show what they can do as another string to our bow.

“But in the second half, as defence coach there were a lot of choice words I was saying on the sidelines.

“It took me quite a while to calm down and I didn’t speak to the guys afterwards. I wasn’t impressed and they knew that.

“We pride ourselves on a certain standard, and when we’re not hitting it or drop below, it’s disappointing.

“In this league there are strong teams and others who will struggle for survival. I’d place Macclesfield in that latter group and in the second half we dropped to that level – we got ahead and switched off.

“Defence-wise, we gave them two soft tries and for me, that’s the most disappointing thing. We were too soft.

“In the three games we’ve played, the other side has not had to work for any of the tries we’ve conceded. We have gifted everything to them.

“Against Blackheath and Hartpury College we have got to step it up and play at the level we pride ourselves on. They will be looking at us and licking their lips, saying all they’ve got to do is get into our 22, we’ll give away penalties and make mistakes, and they’ll get scores. We’ve really got to pick that up.”

Added Pritchard: “The potential is there, that’s the thing. We see it in training.

“I could have walked off at the end of the game and said, okay, that was likely to happen after such a first half and we’ve got a five-point win, but we have to realise that if we want to move forward in ths league and on to compete in the Championship, we have got to be a lot more ruthless and composed.”