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Positives for Huddersfield RU coach Gareth Lewis despite defeat at South Leicester

Five tries scored but defence must tighten

Adam Malthouse of Huddersfield Rugby Union Club playing against South Leicester - Picture by Ray Morris

Huddersfield RU’s 26-match unbeaten league run came to an end 44-36 at South Leicester in National II North.

Funnily enough it was at the same place they last tasted defeat, back in April 2016, but head coach Gareth Lewis had plenty of positives from the match.

“We played some great rugby, but we must learn to keep the foot on the throat,” said Lewis.

“Basic errors after we had scored proved to be the difference.

“Scoring five tries has to be commended, but our defence obviously must tighten up.

“We will improve our discipline at the breakdown next week and prepare well for Hinckley (at Lockwood Park on Saturday).”

In a high-scoring and entertaining game, Field got off to a perfect start when new signing Will Milner touched down after a neat grubber kick through the home defence, after an excellent Huddersfield scrummage.

Joel Hinchliffe landed the first of his five successful kicks at goal with the conversion.

South were back on terms on 11 minutes when Myles Bean cut swiftly inside from his wing to score under the posts.

Fly half Rick Aley added the extras and his flawless kicking game was to prove to be the deciding factor in the match.

Sam Nunn of Huddersfield Rugby Union Club scores against South Leicester Picture by Ray Morris

Penalty points for both teams took the score to 13-10 on the half hour before Aley crafted the perfect cross-field kick straight into the arms of Bean who scored his second try.

Huddersfield finished the half strongly with their forwards driving hard and, when centre Tom Owen produced a neat side step after their good work to score centre field, they trailed by only a single point at the interval.

The second half started badly for Field when a try by Will Cave punished the visitors’ failure to take the long kick off at the re-start.

However, they responded well and put the home side under a lot of pressure with their forwards making some serious inroads through South’s defensive line.

Lewis Bradley bounced off three tackles on one such break and when eventually brought down managed to off-load the ball to Nick Sharpe, who scored from close range.

However a penalty and a drop goal, both from well out, by Aley maintained the points advantage for his team.

Another excellent line break by Bradley led to the try-scoring bonus point, Huddersfield full back Lewis Workman rounding off the good work near the right hand touchline.

Hinchliffe’s excellent conversion made the score level on 66 minutes.

Richard Piper of Huddersfield Rugby Union Club playing against South Leicester - Picture by Ray Morris

Moments later some careless indiscipline by Field offered Aley a penalty chance on the 10m line which he knocked over with ease for South to re-gain the lead.

Another fine spell by Huddersfield led to their fifth try of the game and put them in front with 10 minutes remaining.

Once again it was their big forwards who created the chance, driving the short channels and working the ball through several phases.

A neat sleight of hand by Danny Grainger gave Sam Nunn the opportunity to finish the play with a try under the posts.

Their lead lasted just two minutes, however, as the impeccable Aley landed his fourth long-range penalty.

Another inch-perfect cross-field punt by Aley in injury time then produced the final try of the match.

The fly half picked up behind a solid South Leicester scrummage on the Huddersfield 22 and his kick landed straight down the throat of Cave for a simple score.

A penalty in stoppage time gave Huddersfield a chance to reduce the deficit to five points and secure a losing bonus point, but Hinchliffe pulled his kick just wide of the posts.

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