2nd Apr, 2020

Robinson confident of an improved Bears for Newcastle opener

Ben Tyler 13th Feb, 2020

BEARS director of rugby Alan Robinson says improvements are there to be made after a 36-4 defeat to Hunslet in Sunday’s Rugby League Challenge Cup third-round tie.

Coventry were downed after a one-sided second half at South Leeds Stadium, ending their progress in this season’s competition.

Robinson says he was most impressed by what he saw in the first half from his new-look side, who kept the hosts at bay up until the break.

“It was a challenge on a number of counts, not just logistically due to the storms but facing an experienced fellow League One side,” he said.

“We had nine debutants and despite such an influx of new players, in the first half we matched Hunslet well going in 8-4 at half-time.

“We took a lot of confidence from that, but due to the amount of defending we did and losing both a prop and a half-back early in the half through injury, this took its toll on us in the second with the weather deteriorating.

“Hunslet’s experienced forwards came into their own and dominated us in those key areas. We have a lot to take from the game and I’m confident we can improve going into the start of the season.”

With the majority of games postponed due to the well-documented conditions, the match eventually got underway after a delayed start.

Unfortunately for Bears, at a ground where they have historically struggled, Kiedan Hartley’s early try paved the way for that trend to continue, although the conversion did not follow with the wind playing a big factor.

A numerical advantage temporarily aided Coventry’s cause after Zac Braham was sinbinned for a dangerous tackle, leading to Hayden Freeman’s equalising try on 24 minutes. The conversion was once again missed.

But just before the half was out, Hartley scored his second unconverted try of the game to send the hosts 8-4 in front at the break.

A disappointing second half then followed for Alan Robinson’s charges, as Duane Straugheir and Matty Chrimes made their way over the whitewash.

Jordan Andrade, Josh Tonks and Jack Lee then capped off a blistering display of attacking rugby from the hosts in the one-sided second period, with Dominic Brambani adding four conversions as a result of the wind subsiding slightly.

With Rochdale now set to play their rescheduled cup tie against York Acorn this weekend, the Bears will have to wait until Sunday, March 1 for their opening League One fixture of the season at home to Newcastle Thunder.

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