GALLERY: Coach Veenendaal lays into his Wisbech players after opening day Thetford loss
- Credit: Archant
Wisbech Rugby Club’s head coach Leonard Veenendaal slammed his side’s attitude after they lost 40-38 to Thetford in their opening Greene King IPA Eastern Counties League clash at Harecroft Road on Saturday.
Wisbech started well and went ahead through Agris Kokars’ converted try but the rest of the half was disastrous for the hosts.
Jon Turner crossed but they shipped five tries to go into the break 33-14 down.
Spurred on by a half-time rollicking, the hosts produced a sterling second half come back.
Jon Turner added two more tries to complete his hat trick, while Jack Malkin and De La Ray Veenendaal also crossed. Mark Laws added two more conversions.
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But the fight back proved in vain as Wisbech fell two points short of the visitors.
Veenendaal said: “We tried to emphasise to the boys that we need to take every team seriously in the league but there were complacency jitters.
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“Having come down, we were perhaps over confident, which meant we found ourselves 33-14 down at half time. I laid down the law to the team and made a few positional and gameplan changes.
“It was a good second half performance and fight back but we left it too late. If the game had gone two more minutes we would have won.”
Veenendaal says there will be changes when Wisbech host much fancied Ely on Saturday in their next league game.
He said: “I was not impressed with the attitude of the players against Thetford. Hopefully lessons have been learnt.
“We will regroup and are fortunate that the league is not won in September.
“Ely are one of the top teams in the league and were chasing promotion last season, so things will not get any easier.
“We’ll make a few changes to the team. Some players who have performed admirably in the second team deserve a crack and some of our senior players have to look long and hard in the mirror.”