Skipper Jerry Collins has warned the squad that they mustn't let the standards set over the last two weekends slip as they prepare for the Viadana return match
Giving his reaction to Saturday’s impressive 62-7 win at the Stadio Il Giglio, the former All Black commented:
“We’ve said that working over the next five or six week block we’ve got to build momentum, and I think for 60 or 65 minutes today we managed to get it together. We came here first and foremost today looking to win. We put some good rugby together today at times, we made a lot of line-breaks and we managed to score from them, unlike the last few weeks when we’ve been making the line-breaks but not scoring. If you can make four or five clean line-breaks in the first half and score from them then it’s usually going to be a good day.
“Obviously, we’re pretty happy to come down here and get the five points, now we look forward to next week. It’s probably going to be a tighter game, they are a passionate and proud team who have caused some good teams trouble this season, and I include us there, because they certainly worked us hard at times. They had spells in the game, particularly the first twenty minutes, where they pushed us all the way, and they came back at us hard during the second half which is a sign of a team with spirit. This win is particularly pleasing because we had to work so hard to get it, and having had a chance to watch us closely today I’d expect them to go away, do their homework on us, and present another difficult challenge next Saturday. Anybody who expects anything else clearly hasn’t watched much rugby!
“Ricky Januarie came off the plane from South Africa yesterday, which is a tough ask, he was pretty much playing blindfolded but we didn’t really have much choice. To make his job easier, up front we’ve had to deliver the ball as best we could. He’s got a good pass, he’s been around a long time, and he knows how to play the game. A player of his calibre knows what needs to be done and what is expected of him. The coaches spoke to him and pretty much told him what was expected, but the onus really was on the other 14, to make his job easier. He scored a try on his debut so he’s pretty happy!
“The plan is for us to continue improving, but you’re only as good as you’re last game. There’s a strong mentality in the squad, we’ve got some boys to come back into the squad over the next few weeks that will strengthen us a bit, and we’ll need that extra depth as it’s going to be a busy time with Viadana again next week, the Welsh derbies and then Clermont and Leicester next month. We’ve put a benchmark down over the last two weekends and that must be the minimum standard for us now.”