Rainford delighted with display and result as All Blacks stick to game-plan
Five points, four tries and an away win – what more could a team want? This stylish 30-19 demolition of the tough Bristolian club Dings Crusaders at Lockleaze serves notice on the rest of National Two South that the Cornish All Blacks are finding their form.
Their head coach Spike Rainford was quietly delighted. He said: "Four tries and five points, a great game, and a big step up again from last week. We stuck to our own game and didn't get drawn into theirs.
"We wanted to keep the ball tight, draw in their defence and then spread it, and in this we did well – centre Lewis Paterson twice, wing Richard Bright, and full-back Kieron Lewitt all scoring.
"So we did all we set out to do. Dings had a big pack. We set out to match them, tackle for tackle and on the gain line and in the ruck area, and to dominate the game from there."
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To try to read the game from the scoresheet would be a misleading exercise. With 25 minutes left, Dings were leading 19-18, yet the All Blacks had had overall dominance throughout and much the better attacking skills. In the last quarter they powerfully reimposed themselves and ran in two more classy tries.
Early on the referee seemed disproportionately punitive with his penalty awards against the All Blacks. They were mauling, rucking and passing productively yet before the half hour were three times deemed to have infringed, with Dings' experienced kicker, fly-half Mark Woodrow, kicking nine points.
In between his second and third goals the All Blacks hit back with Lewitt slotting neatly into the line to round off a slick three-quarter move and then add the conversion.
The full-back was to go on to score half of his side's total points. He now kicked another penalty before centre Lewis Paterson – who had a superb game, scoring two tries and making a third – crossed: home hooker Dave Wheeler had been yo-yoing on and off the pitch with a recurring blood injury and his lineout throwing duly suffered.
The All Blacks kicked to the corner, tried a drive over, reversed play, and slipped the ball blind to the lurking Paterson to score and give the visitors a 15-9 half-time lead.
At the re-start Woodrow and Lewitt traded one more successful penalty shot apiece before Dings posted their only try, centre Christian Gervais charging down a rather lazy 22 clearance by All Black fly-half Jake Murphy and touching down for Woodrow to add the extras.
Dings had nosed in front by a single point. But by the 55th minute the All Blacks had had enough of nip-and-tuck and decided to kill off the Bristolian challenge once and for all. On-and-off home hooker Wheeler now trumped his earlier antics by getting sin-binned for a technical offence and the Cornish went into overdrive.
They kicked into the attack-zone, recycled it and Paterson imperiously handed off two defenders to go over wide out; and finally, with all guns firing and some fine open rugby and delightful interpassing, the ubiquitous Paterson found Bright who scooted down the wing, rounded two players and went in under the posts for Lewitt to add the simple conversion and put his side virtually out of sight 30-19.
In the last quarter the visitors went into containment mode and Dings missed two more penalty goal chances.