Pritchard: Hindsight a wonderful thing for Blues
Hindsight is a wonderful thing Canadian full-back James Pritchard admitted as they came up three points short against London Welsh.
Bedford may have triumphed 24-17 at Old Deer Park on Sunday but lost out 30-27 on aggregate, meaning a couple of spurned penalty opportunities at the weekend came back to haunt them.
The Blues skipper said: “That’s the thing, looking back, it was the first thing I thought when the whistle blew that I had passed up those opportunities.
“You make the snap call out there.
“It might have been the safer option to take the three points, but you never know in rugby, they could have got the ball straight off the kick-off.
“But I trust our boys and trust our forwards. I ask them if they want a lineout, if they’re feeling confident and if they are, I’m always going to go.
“I grew up playing attacking rugby and I’m always going to go for a try rather than the points.
“Sometimes it comes back to haunt you, like now, but look it’s the way I am and I’m always going to want my boys to push for a try.”
Bedford were always confident of overcoming the 10-point deficit from the first leg, but a poor first half performance at the Exiles also dented their hopes.
The Canadian international continued: “I think it’s no secret that the rain isn’t our friend, and that hurt us at Bedford. But we always knew we could pull that 10-point deficit back, it wasn’t a problem.
“I think the problem was our first 20 minutes here. I don’t think we got off the bus. We were lacksydaisy in defence, didn’t work our patterns and they basically had the ball for the first 20 minutes and ran us ragged and I think that’s what’s cost us.
“I just said to the boys once we keep the ball for more than four phases we look dangerous, and we just need to do that more.
“Too much in the first half we just gave them the ball and let them play for four-plus phases and it cost us.
“We came out second half and we were chasing the game then.”
But he was delighted with the way his side responded and the rousing second half performance they produced as tries from Don Barrell and Neil Cochrane, added to Ollie Dodge’s first half score took Bedford to within inches of forcing extra-time.
Pritchard continued: “You can’t ask for anything more as a captain because the boys put in a lot of hard work during the season and no-one wants to role over and die out there.
“I just said to the boys, are we happy with our effort? Can we put in some more and the boys put in everything they’ve got out there.
“We won the game here but it’s bitter that you win and then don’t get a prize at the end of it.
“The bounce of the ball didn’t go our way either. They had some very kind bounces and down there the bounce didn’t go our way and they picked up a try after we had been attacking for so long.
“It’s disappointing. The whole season sort of comes down to that and produce a last 40 minutes like we did and then end up with nothing is bitterly disappointing.”
And they were full of belief right until the final whistle that they could still do it and maybe even engineer an equalising drop-goal.
Pritchard added: “It was just confidence (after Cochrane’s try). They were on the rack, going down injured trying to soak up as much time as possible.
“We knew we just had to keep hold of the ball because they were running out of puff.
“I think we could have used another five minutes and maybe we could have got over there. Unfortunately time ran out and that’s our season.
“Jamie’s probably our best (drop-goal kicker). I’ve never hit a drop-goal in my life so it would have been a great time to get my first one. But that wind out there was bit tricky for me, kicking the way I kind of kick.
“It would have been good to have a shot at goal.
“Jamie’s hit a few before and we’ve been practising but I think it would have been whoever was in position.
“Jamie or me and I think Brendan would have gladly put his hand up as well.”
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Weather for Bedford
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North
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