A LACK of physicality in the forwards cost Swindon dear as they went down 15-12 away at Newbury Blues.

After the visitors slipped behind early on, Paul Daniels produced some magic as he broke away from the back of a scrum to touch down for a try which was converted by skipper Adam Westall to give his side the lead, but the visitors were soon behind once again.

Steve Price was able to convert a driving maul to bring the Greenbridge Road side back into the contest late on but it wasn’t enough as they fell to defeat in their opening game of the year.

Swindon suffered a blow on Friday night when influential forward Tom Mannion was ruled out through injury, but the number eight still travelled to support his teammates and was able to give an objective view of the game.

“We had a good team out but we weren’t clinical enough in the right areas despite playing well for certain parts of the game,” he said.

“We need to be more physical up front, although our scrums and lineouts are up there with the best in the league, but when it comes to the breakdown we are a bit soft.

“If we can get that sorted we can give any team a run for their money, especially at home.”

Despite the loss, Mannion insisted there were still a number of positives for his side to take.

“Obviously we wanted to win, so to lose was disappointing, although our defence stood up quite well,” he said.

“If we can get back to our basics and our patterns I’m sure we can get back to winning ways.”

Swindon take on South West 1 East leaders Oxford Harlequins at Greenbridge Road on Saturday.