Cron: 'We just gave them tries, just let them back in'

Fri, Mar 1, 2024, 1:47 PM
NT
by Nick Taylor
Western Force head coach Simon Cron and captain Jeremy Williams spoke to the media following the Round 2 defeat to the Melbourne Rebels.

Western Force coach Simon Cron says the side needs a tougher mindset for the last quarter of the game after the Melbourne Rebels scored 29 unanswered points in Friday night's 48-34 loss AAMI Park.

And Cron has revealed the difficulty and frustration of finding replacement props to fill spots left by a long injury list.

Cron said the side went into their shell in the last 25 minutes of the Super Rugby Pacific Round 2 match.

"We just gave them tries, just let them back in the game," he said.

"The last 25 minutes was probably a mindset where guys went a bit quiet.

"We need to be able to flush that and move on.

"We took a couple of leaders off at that point because we had to sub them at that stage. We went into a shell a bit.

"We've got to look at our finishers, who comes off the bench, what we're doing there, the guys on the field and how they act when those changes are made.

"There's a few things we've got to work on. We've just got to be able to fire further in the second half."

Cron saw improvements in areas like the maul, line-out, line-out defence and attacking team play.

"A lot of our tries were team tries," he said.

"They (Rebels) scored a lot of individual tries, we threw an intercept, we didn't catch a high ball - there's two of them."

Captain Jeremy Williams said defence "came along well" but there were areas of improvement needed.

"That back end of that last 20 minutes both attack and defence line dropped off," he said. "For the most part, quite happy.

"The moments where the momentum shifts, we need to get back to our basics, our systems and structures so we can shift that momentum.

"At the start of the game we did quite well, we just struggled to wrestle that back in the last 20 minutes,"

Cron is hoping Ryan Coxon, the former Crusaders and Chiefs front-rower who signed an injury cover contract and was rushed straight into the starting side, will be fit for Saturday' clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.

Coxon was taken off on a stretcher out of precaution after suffering a neck injury in a second-half tackle but was back watching the game on the reserves bench.

Cron said Coxon had been cleared of serious injury.

"He seems OK. I think he's been cleared of anything serious which is pleasing," he said.

"Hopefully he comes through and is OK.

"I thought he did a really good job considering he's been with us seven days.

"I think at a wild guess his heart and lungs were pretty blown out too with pushing a bit long.

"He might have just decided to hop on the stretcher for that."

Cron is already without injured front-rowers Siosifa Amone, Harry Hoopert, and Angus Wagner.

Marley Pearce is suspended, former All Blacks prop Atu Moli is close to playing while Wallabies prop Tom Robertson is on a sabbatical at Oxford University.

"I messaged Tom Robertson and I said I think it's time to come home son," Cron said. "He said 'I won't be long'."

"We've been looking in Australia for the last four months for extra looseheads.

"We've got two in our academy and one who is with us training but they are not quite up to Super Rugby yet and if I put them out there, I'll hurt them or ruin their career.

"I can't do that. The good thing about Coxon is he came off a Super Rugby pre-season so therefore physically he's in a position where we're not going to hurt him, well hopefully not hurt him.

"You're playing three or four deep in every position but not this deep. This is a real challenge."

The Force face the ACT Brumbies in Canberra next Saturday 9 March from 11:35am WST.

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