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Head coach praises Highland mentality after turnaround in form

By Andrew Henderson

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Dave Carson believes the difference in Highland Rugby Club’s play over recent weeks has been mental, rather than tactical.

Highland Rugby Club v Ayr - Canal Park, Inverness..A flying Andrew Kellock...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Highland Rugby Club v Ayr - Canal Park, Inverness..A flying Andrew Kellock...Picture: Callum Mackay..

All at Canal Park were left searching for answers after losing the first two matches of the National One season.

It was disappointing to lose at home against Ayr, and the scoreline away at Kelso was particularly humbling, but scoring 40 points away at Boroughmuir last weekend exceeded even Carson’s expectations.

Rather than putting that down to tactical or technical tweaks, he has highlighted levels of work rate and determination as they key factors in Highland’s quick turnaround.

For Carson, those are the things that make all the difference at this level of club rugby, and he is pleased to be reaping the rewards of having the right approach.

“You can have all the tactics in the world, but if you haven’t got the desire, heart and the hunger to get into these positions then it doesn’t matter what tactics you’re using, they’re not going to work,” Carson said.

“We showed in the video to the boys that they were slow to get off the ground, make the tackle or get back into position instead of sprinting back to get into positive positions in the first two games.

“They’re really putting the work in now, and they’re coming off after 40 minutes absolutely bursting, and we need to get their energy levels back up again at half-time to go back out for the second half.

“They realise now what’s involved in winning, especially the newer additions to National One. They didn’t realise it was like that, but it certainly is.

“Over the last couple of games they have really strived to put their heart and soul into the performance, and we’ve come away with two good results.”

Highland 2nd XV eeked out a narrow 24-23 victory away at Mackie last time out, maintaining their perfect Caley North Two record ahead of a trip to Banff.

After being unable to get a team to face Aberdeen Taexali last week, Highland’s third team are idle in Caledonia North Four on Saturday.

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