Westall wants Swindon to banish bad memories
5:30am Friday 17th January 2014 in By Andy Warren, Deputy sports editor, email@example.com, @AndyWarren_
ADAM Westall is keen for his Swindon players to banish all memories of their hammering by Oxford Harlequins earlier in the season to the back of their minds when the two teams meet again tomorrow.
A depleted Swindon side crashed to a 79-7 defeat to the league leaders when they met in October and the Oxford side have only been beaten once all season to lead South West 1 East by 13 points.
With Swindon on the slide and without a win in their last three games captain Westall knows the return fixture will be far from easy but the fly-half believes his side have a chance as long as they give their all on the pitch.
“Hopefully things will be a bit different this time but they are a very good side and it’s going to be another really hard game,” he said.
“They have a number of players on the books of various Premiership clubs, three or four from Saracens and a handful of Kiwis and South Africans. They pay good money and for that you expect them to be a good side, it’s the nature of the beast.
“We have to try and match them physically and we should be able to bring that enthusiasm at home. Last time we played them we had a few people out, including myself, so a lot of us didn’t see them first hand.
“They have a big strong 13, we know that and need to try and knock him down early and if we can do that and make an early statement we should have a decent chance. No doubt they have a forward pack who can do the tight stuff as well so that’s another challenge we are going to have to try and overcome.
“We have a good bunch of guys and some very good player and, with them top of the league we have nothing to lose to a certain extent. They’ve only been beaten once this season and that was only because half their team went to watch New Zealand in the Rugby League World Cup final, but we would love to be the second team to do it.
Swindon face the additional challenge of their Greenbridge Road pitch having been turned into a swamp by the recent wet weather, with captain Westall insisting they need to learn to cope with wet conditions better.
“Our pitch is a bit of a bog at the moment so it’s not going to be a case of us chucking the ball around at will, but we have to give it 110 per cent to give ourselves a shot,” he said.
“We’re not mud monsters and we don’t deal with the weather particularly well but we need to do that better. Against the top sides you have to match them physically.”