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On The Pitch

Craig Sandercock’s post match reaction

Despite an opening night defeat at the hands of reigning champions, Leeds Rhinos, Rovers' Head Coach, Craig Sandercock, was proud of his side's performance.

On the wrong end of the penalty count and having also made some unforced errors at times, the Robins found themselves defending their own end for a large part of the contest. In the end, that weight of possession and territory took its toll with Sandercock saying afterwards:

"I'm very frustrated at the penalty count, that's for sure. All we seemed to do was defend for four tackles, give away a penalty and defend our own line.

"So I'm pretty proud of my boys because considering the penalty count and considering that we spent the whole game defending our own line I thought we gave a very good account of ourselves. In saying all of that though, Leeds were too good on the night this time."

When asked whether he may be having a chat with Head of Referees, Stuart Cummings, the Robins' boss replied:
"I've had my concerns so I'll be having a little chat to him during the week."

On a freezing night at Headingley, Rovers stood toe to toe with the champions for the majority of the game and it was only in the last 15 minutes that the Rhinos managed to edge their way to victory.

"I thought our first 65 minutes was outstanding," Sandercock continued.

"Obviously, Leeds are a class side and they put on some points in the last 15 minutes which was disappointing for us. But I thought that for 65 minutes we were in that contest and if a couple of things had gone our way I might have been a bit happier.

"But Leeds are a class side with some class players and if you lack concentration or miss a tackle they hurt you and that's why they're the champions. We need to get that kind of mentality into us."

Having taken plenty of heart from the performance of his side in the opening 65 minutes, the Rovers' Head Coach will now be looking for them to turn that into an 80 minute effort.

"Rugby league goes for 80 minutes and we need to learn to play for that," he added.

"I know we were under fatigue, I know that we did an awful lot of defending and I know that the penalty count was quite high, but if you want to compete with the best teams in the competition you have to try and respond to that adversity and really work for each other which we did for the first 65 minutes."

Photo: Craig Sandercock’s post match reaction