No excuses from Stags, despite 84-0 defeat
Stags coach David Henderson had no excuses yesterday as he reflected on what was the worst performance he has seen in his seven-year tenure in the coaching box.
Three games in nine days - it would be easy to clutch at this to excuse what happened against Canterbury in Christchurch on Sunday.
However, Henderson wasn't all that keen on using it to defend his team.
Southland leaked 12 tries and were thrashed 84-nil in one of the most embarrassing displays seen by a Southland rugby team in the union's 125-year history.
"In regards to the short turnaround, every team goes through it and we had to as well. That's not an excuse that sits well from my perspective, we have to front up and we didn't against Canterbury."
Henderson also didn't pause when ranking the performance and outlining just how bad it was.
"In my time as coach that is the worst performance I've seen and I guess the scoreline adds value to what I'm saying," he said.
So just what went wrong?
Why was the missed tackle count flicking over as quick as a power meter in a house with every appliance turned on?
Henderson was still coming to grips with it but said there was probably a whole series of reasons why his team was so weak in the tackling department.
"There's probably two or three (reasons). One is that there's a lot of young young guys that haven't played a lot of rugby at this level and they're learning, I think some of them got fatigued during the game and made bad decisions, there's a bit of a mixture of everything."
The task for this embarrassed bunch of Southland rugby players is to respond with a much better showing against Taranaki in Invercargill on Sunday.
It is a must, not just for their play-off hopes but for many of the players' reputations.
"When you've had a performance like that you'd like to get on the track on Wednesday or Thursday, but we've got to suffer through to Sunday to see what we're made of. That's a huge challenge for us but I think we're up for it," Henderson said.
He said the players would have a small two-day break before linking back up tomorrow to go about fixing some of the major defensive issues.
Henderson said not a lot was said after Sunday's game, with that soul-searching to be done tomorrow when the team regroup.
"From my perspective it's not wise to vent your frustrations until you've had a good chance to review the game and that is on Wednesday when those conversations are.
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand there wasn't a whole lot of talk going on in the changing room and there was a lot of disappointment in there, but it's no point me saying anything until I get my facts right," Henderson said.
- © Fairfax NZ News