DESPITE a gutsy victory, Yorkshire Carnegie boss James Lowes realises his side must learn from their errors – so they can give the Championship pacesetters a genuine challenge in their next two outings.
He was left proud after seeing his injury-ravaged side win 38-36 against Bedford Blues at the weekend, a success that leaves them in sixth but level on points with fourth-placed Doncaster Knights.
There is a break in action this weekend before the competition resumes again with Carnegie heading to second-placed Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday November 11, an ambitious side who have lost only once so far.
Just six days later, they then host illustrious leaders Bristol, the star-studded side who have won all seven league games so far since suffering relegation from the Premiership.
It will be a real examination of just how good Carnegie –who have won four games up to press – potentially could be.
Nevertheless, Lowes accepts his side must improve despite Sunday’s heroics when, down to 13 men after two sin-binnings, they held on at the death.
It needed the width of a post to save them, Will Hooley’s touchline conversion striking an upright after Alex Penny had scored a controversial try – the prop clearly fumbled – deep into injury-time.
However, Carnegie had been 38-24 ahead before somehow letting their commanding lead slip.
“I thought particularly in the second half halfway through when we got a couple of scores ahead, we were the better side,” admitted Lowes, whose team had also coped with the loss to injury of three of their starting XV in the first half.
“But we have to learn. We have a big learning curve just around the corner. With Ealing and Bristol coming up, if we play like we managed that second half, we’ll lose against them.
“We just offered too much to Bedford. We’re a good attacking side. We’ve seen that.
“But our game management was really poor second half; we should have been miles better in determining how the game was played.
“We offered Bedford way too much on your line.”
He added: “Right at the end that was a disgraceful decision (Penney try).
“The ball went forward. I was stood right at the side of it and giving that.,...?
“But I said to the boys we should never have been on our line at that point anyway. We should have been in their 22.
“We had ample opportunity to do that but we gave a stupid penalty away on halfway and then off that that happened.
“For us to learn we need to not to put ourselves in that position.
“Not to give the referee an opportunity to give a penalty.
“Our key, experienced players should be barking ‘get that ball away from our line as far away as possible.’
“But our effort is unbelievable. It’ll top anybody’s.
“It’s just our smartness that let us down a bit.”