PLAYER-coach Brendan Burke believes there is a lot more to come from Coventry’s back division over the second half of the National League One season.
Cov are averaging 30 points a game and are on 60 tries for the season – six more coming in Saturday’s 43-42 win over Old Albanian.
But Burke only gives the attack five out of ten so far and insists that there is a lot of work to be done before Cov achieve an acceptable level of overall performance.
“We haven’t played to our potential,” said Burke, who made his first league start for Cov at centre on Saturday but was forced off by a shoulder injury just before half-time.
“There’s parts in games where we’ve looked fantastic and there’s been parts of games where we’ve made schoolboy errors, which is disappointing.
“I think we’ve just got to cut down our error count, it makes such a difference. At the moment we’re doing some stupid things and making stupid mistakes.
“Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been working on our attack, especially off different parts of the pitch, and I think it came off well quite well at the weekend
“Some of our strike plays off the first phase that we’d worked on came off, so we’re pretty happy with that.
“But although it’s great to say we scored tries, rugby’s not all about that – it’s about defending as well, and we just didn’t defend. We’re halfway through the season and it’s happening consistently.
“When our game clicks, it’s fine, but unfortunately you’ve got to be able to defend as well which we didn’t do on Saturday.
“I think the lads have now got to put their hands up and say it’s not the coaches’ fault, it’s about taking personal responsibility and if you miss a tackle, it’s your fault. It’s not acceptable any more.
“It’s penalties as well – we’re giving away too many at the moment and people are constantly doing it.
“We have to learn that you don’t give away penalties in your own half, it cost us a lot of points on Saturday, and some of them were just stupid. We’ll look through it again at the start of the week and people have got to be accountable for it now.”
Injuries, particularly, in the backs have forced Cov to make regular changes to their match-day squad, but Burke doesn’t believe that has influenced performances.
“Everyone’s tuned in, I think at the moment we’ve got a squad where no matter who goes down we’ve got options to bring in lads who are fighting to get a chance.
“When the opportunity comes, they know they have to perform and they’ll get the jersey for the next week, so the injured boys coming back have to fight for their places again which is what a squad should be about.
“Everybody knows what the patterns and structures are from the training we do.”
Added Burke: “We were fortunate to win on Saturday. We were lucky enough to get a scrum from the final play of the game, the scrum was working well, and we got a penalty from it for the winning kick, but overall it was quite disappointing.”