Kendal Director of Rugby Steve Whitehead magnanimous after derby defeat insists it is just a blip (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Kendal Director of Rugby Steve Whitehead magnanimous after derby defeat insists it is just a blip
A MAGNONIMOUS Steve Whitehead expects a reaction from his side after Kendal’s derby day defeat to Kirkby Lonsdale at Mint Bridge saw their three-match winning streak come to an abrupt end.
Despite enjoying a healthy 15-5 interval lead, the Black and Ambers were on the wrong end of a Rams fightback as the visitors secured local bragging rights.
Although Whitehead concedes the result was a bitter pill to swallow, he insists there will be no hangover when his charges head to bottom of the table Leigh this weekend.
“It was hurtful and disappointing but there is by no means a head down feeling, it is more a case of feeling angry, getting back to work and getting the show back on the road,” he said.
“The lads know it’s not the beginning of a slide, they are starting to get some confidence and belief in their own ability and they know what Saturday was and know it won’t have a lasting effect on the season.
“If anything I hope it will sharpen their edge and bring a bit of bite into their performance and after everything the league position does not change, we’re still sitting fourth.
“To be quite honest Kirkby really wanted it, played to their strengths and fought for everything for the whole 80 minutes.
“In reality, the formbook in a derby can go out of the window and you won’t find any excuses or complaints from our side, Kirkby came with nothing lose and deserved it.”
One concern raised by the former open-side flanker was his side’s second-half performance, which for the third game running failed to reach the levels set in the opening period.
Despite taking their foot of the gas in previous games, wins were still secured against Carlisle and Vale of Lune, with Whitehead keen to stress this issue has been noted.
“In the second-half against Kirkby we weren’t allowed to control the game in the manner we normally attempt to and the lads went off-plan a little bit,” he added.
“But sides are always going to have their say and in fairness we are an older side and a powerful side and to some extent in the second-half of games we have been tiring, there is no doubt about that.
“Although you don’t have to be flat out for the entire thing, when you tire you lose concentration that negates your ability to control the match.
“Once we have built a platform in a game we need to be able to exercise that control so we may have to recognise that needs to be done slightly differently and we’re working on that.
“It’s not a case of lacking the required fitness levels but we are working on dominating and denying the opposition possession once we have given ourselves that platform.”
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