Scrum is key in Colchester win

Gazette: Key battle - Colchester's Joe McMillan carries before breaking off to score against Luton. Key battle - Colchester's Joe McMillan carries before breaking off to score against Luton.

While he admits that his team hadn’t beaten Luton as convincingly as they might have done, Colchester Rugby Club head coach Danny Johnston is pleased with the constant improvements he is seeing from them.

Colchester beat Luton 29-24 in their London League division one north clash at Mill Road after leading 19-3 at half-time.

Johnston said there were mistakes made that needed to be ironed out, but he is buoyant about the direction his team is heading.

He said: “We made hard work of a good win if that makes any sense.

“You always know Luton will be a big physical test, but we asserted ourselves well and made chances and there was a huge improvement in our scrum work.

“The disappointing thing is that we couldn’t finish off more of the chances, but it is just attention to detail that needs looking at and that’s not the worst thing to say at this stage of a season.

“I think the rugby we are playing is some of the best the club has ever seen, but we just need to iron out the mistakes.

“It’s frustrating not to have won as we could have done, but we are definitely on the right track and when it does click it looks very good.

“I’m really pleased with how the players are responding to what we’re asking them to do and I can see week by week improvements.”

The first quarter saw both sides test one another without scoring until Colchester’s number eight Dan Whiteman quickly tapped from a penalty and drove over from ten metres for the opening try, with full-back James Crozier adding the conversion.

Luton got on the scoreboard with a penalty after Colchester were offside at a ruck, but the hosts then scored again.

Luton kicked long and skipper Crozier ran the ball back from his own half, linking at pace with fly-half David Higgins, Matt Smith and wing Dave Philps before centre Joe Flexman burst through to score under the posts.

Crozier added the conversion.

From a 15-metre line-out, lock Liam Pickett seized Charlie Thorogood’s throw to set up a drive that dragged in Luton defenders before prop Joe McMillan spotted a gap and peeled off to crash over from ten metres to score a try for a half-time lead of 19-3.

A Crozier penalty, try and conversion accounted for all Colchester’s points after the break, but Luton added 21 of their own to leave it tight at the end and only a knock-on within a metre of the try-line denied the visitors a late score as Colchester held on.

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