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Team play is key as Colchester impress
Danny Johnston feels his players will have seen the benefits of Colchester Rugby Club’s new coaching philosophies after they opened the London League division one north season with a win at Romford and Gidea Park.
Colchester’s 32-23 win was their first at Romford in eight years and head coach Johnston was delighted with the way they came back from a half-time deficit to seal their bonus-point victory.
The Colchester coaching staff are committed to giving players more power to make their own decisions during games and Johnston said the win will have shown them that it is a philosophy that will bring positive results.
He said: “It was massively important.
“It was the first time we have won at Romford since 2005 and I think that is a huge selling point for the philosophy that we are trying to get over to the players.
“When they backed it they got the results and that’s a hugely positive response.
“Their attitude has been positive throughout, but we were under pressure in this game and got the result by working together.
“What impressed me most was that all our tries came from good continuity play and they were all team tries where the whole team came together.
“The defence was also very good under pressure from a physical and well-drilled Romford side.”
Johnston admitted that the opening 40 minutes had been frustrating, though, and Colchester trailed 16-5 at half-time and a man down after number eight Andy Goodbourn had been shown a yellow card for bringing down the scrum.
Starting the second half a man down, Colchester decided attack was the best form of defence and man-of-the-match Matt Smith ran in a try on his debut after a fast-paced attack by Dan Whiteman and Gregor Irvine.
Skipper James Crozier added the conversion, for two of the 12 points he kicked, and soon added a penalty to bring Colchester back within a point.
They edged into the lead from another Crozier penalty and Damien Brambley sidestepped his marker and raced from halfway to score under the posts to extend the advantage.
A gust blew another line-out throw awry and Whiteman quickly seized the loose ball and ran 30 metres for an opportunist fourth try that sealed the bonus point win.
Crozier kicked both for a 32-16 lead to leave Romford’s late score as only a consolation.
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