Rugby Union: Mitchell tries new way to beat Stourbridge slump

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STOURBRIDGE boss Neil Mitchell has spoken to each player one-on-one in order to flush out the reasons behind his side’s dreadful five-match losing streak.

Stour’s miserable run continued away at Chester on Saturday, where they were hammered 31-0 in an error-strewn game.

Mitchell’s team were in the hunt for promotion from National 2 North in mid-January after six wins on the spin but then defeat to Harrogate kick-started a spiralling downwards turn.

With the team low on confidence, director of rugby Mitchell decided against a debrief in the changing room and instead phoned every player afterwards to find out exactly what they thought.

“I’ve got my opinions because I watched the game from the side but it’s also important to understand their perceptions,” he said. “If you stand there in the dressing room and ask what went wrong, not everybody will speak up. The common theme has been the lack of confidence.”

Stourbridge are sixth and Mitchell, who admits this season has gone, is already planning for the next campaign. But he wants a reaction from his team before then.

“Losing becomes a habit I’m afraid,” he said. “There was enough effort (on Saturday) but it was just error after error and as the pressure builds, people try too hard and go off piste. We were rudderless, and have been for a few weeks. As a consequence, the opposition smell blood.

“I don’t know if the players feel sorry for themselves, or think we should be doing better than we are.

“It’s a simplistic game rugby but if concentration fails it’s difficult. We lost over 50 per cent of attacking line-outs on Saturday and that’s down to concentration.”

It doesn’t get any easier for Stour, who host league-leaders Caldy this Saturday, but Mitchell reckons it could be the ideal match to get back on track.

“It’s a perfect scenario,” he said. “We’re the underdogs in everybody’s eyes, so hopefully that will be the inspiration, beat the league leaders in front of your friends and family, which we’re well capable of doing.”


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