Canterbury Country will look to bounce back against their Otago Country counterparts on Saturday at Southbrook, after a 42-12 loss to Otago B.
Just six days after beating Canterbury Metro and reclaiming the Craw Shield for the first time in 10 years, an under-strength Country team never threatened to make it two in a row, in Dunedin, on Saturday.
With seven players out on Canterbury B duty and five out with injury, 11 of the squad were playing either their first or second game at that level.
Brook Retallick, Ben Anderson (Glenmark), Tim Murgatroyd (Prebbleton), Sam Cottam (Lincoln), Mark Maitland and Harrison Kirk (Waihora) were all part of Canterbury B’s 41-21 win over Southland B.
Country coach Nigel Smith said the final score flattered the hosts.
“With one genuine training run during the week and the number of people out, I thought we did okay,” he said.
“We spent a long time on their (try) line thanks to them getting penalised multiple times.”
Smith said he felt his team earned a one-man advantage but the referee never reached into his pocket.
Smith said his team lost a bit of their defensive structure and that prevented them from staying in touch on the scoreboard.
“We were down by 20 points at halftime,” he said.
“We struggled with out line speed and defensive structure.
“They got the ball out to the wings quite easily and we struggled to combat that.”
Smith praised Springston’s Cameron Powell in his first game at No 10.
“I thought he steered the ship well all things considered.”
Smith said the team would need to work their lineout which he described as shaky at best.
“Our set-piece work will have to be much better than what it has been of late.”
Smith said second-five Richard Catherwood was a calming influence in a hectic midfield.
“We needed his leadership and drive and he certainly gave us plenty of that,” Smith said.
Canterbury Country will end their season against Canterbury Maori on September 22 at Linfield Park.