Bury St Edmunds head coach Ollie Smith rues an 'unacceptable performance'
PUBLISHED: 16:51 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:51 04 September 2017
Bury St Edmunds new head coach, Ollie Smith, branded Saturday's opening day 50-17 home defeat to newly-promoted Tonbridge Juddians as an "unacceptable performance."
A new era for Bury, following former Director of Rugby Gavin Hogg’s departure at the end of last season, began in inauspicious fashion in front of a bumper crowd at The Haberden.
Outgunned in the first half, and trailing 26-0 at half-time, Bury as least upped their game to reduce the deficit to 17-29 before Tonbridge finished strongly to end up worthy winners.
“We badly under-performed, and we let a lot of people down,” confessed head coach Smith.
“I feel that we have let our supporters down, and the club as well.
“We selected a team going on form from pre-season, but in the end we just did not turn up. We showed more in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but ultimately we were undone by our first-half performance.
“Me and the other coaches will now have to sit down and see where we all went wrong, and just why we under-performed. There will be no pointing of fingers, but we have let a lot of people down today because we had terrific support from our home fans, as always.
“We have a big week ahead. Rugby can be a cruel sport at times, it can drag you down, and we have to make sure that this does not happen.
“One game does not define a whole season, but we know that we will be judged after the first two or three games.
“We have to decide whether we are a team who is going to come out fighting, or one who just comes out and goes through the motions,” added Smith, the former England, Leicester and Harlequins centre.
Second-half tries by Dwayne Corcoran and Chris Lord were the highlights of a disappointment afternoon for the Wolfpack.
Smith continued: “This first game has gone now, but to be honest, I didn’t see that performance coming. I had not expected that.
“The match was gone at half-time, and I told the players that. I saw a good reaction at the start of the second half, which was pleasing, but it was the manner of the defeat rather than the defeat itself which was so disappointing.
“I thought it was an unacceptable performance, even though it was a new team out there with several players having their first taste of English rugby.
“It hurts me to say this, but I thought that TJs (Tonbridge) wanted it more than us.”