Luff critical of tactics as Devon lose at Somerset
Devon head coach Jason Luff admitted the team got the game-plan wrong in the 33-20 Bill Beaumont Cup defeat to Somerset at Bridgwater.
Luff did not want to tangle too much with Somerset's powerhouse pack, preferring to get the ball moving in the backs. What Luff wanted and what he got were two different things as Devon's backs were not brought into play enough.
Decision-making errors did not help – wrong tap penalty choices cost Devon – and, by the time the team got back on message, it was too late, possibly rendering their game against Kent on Saturday meaningless.
Said Luff: "We had two rockets on the wings – Tyson Lewis and Phil Chesters – yet hardly ever used them.
"When we were 26-20 down, we made a big error. We had a penalty on their ten-metre line and instead of kicking into the corner and setting up the drive, we tapped, ran five metres then kicked it out.
"That gave Somerset the line-out and they went 70 metres up field and scored."
Dan Hawkes, son of Somerset coach Mike Hawkes and a former University of Plymouth scholar, kicked the home side ahead with a penalty. Chesters stretched his legs to run in a Devon try, then hooker Sam Roberts dived over in the corner for a 10-3 lead.
Dave Hilton crashed over under the posts for Hawkes to convert for ten-all and then Hawkes kicked a penalty.
Devon gave away a penalty try early in the second half that Hawkes converted before Tom Whelan knocked over a penalty for the visitors.
Two more Hawkes penalties pushed Somerset over the horizon at 26-13. Chesters scored again and Wheelan got Devon within six points with the kick. Somerset went close twice before lock Ed Hack ploughed over.
Somerset: Hall (Old Redcliffians); Claydon (Taunton), Barnes (Oldfield Old Boys), Muskett (Birmingham-Solihull), Watkins (Weston-super-Mare); Hawkes (Birmingham-Solihull), McQuire (Oldfield Old Boys); Hilton (Dings Crusaders), Bellamy (capt, Dings Crusaders), Rowlands (Old Redingensians); Hack (Dings Crusaders), Charlton (Taunton); Vakalutukali (40 Command Royal Marines & Royal Navy), Webster (Birmingham-Solihull), Murrel (Dings Crusaders). Replacements: Gatford (Taunton), Hudd (Dings Crusaders), Pape (London Scottish), Harvey (Sherborne), Foster (40 Commando Royal Marines & Royal Navy), Naulago (40 Commando Royal Marines), Thie (Clevedon).
Scorers: Tries – Hilton, Hack, penalty try; Conversions Hawkes (2); Penalties – Hawkes (4).
Devon: M Lee (Plymouth Albion); Lewis (Plymouth Albion), Armitage (Plymouth Albion), Squires (Barnstaple), Chesters (Ealing); Avery-Wright (Newton Abbot), Webber (Barnstaple); Rogers (Newton Abbot), Roberts (Barnstaple), Manton (Plymouth Albion); Flashman (Brixham), Lockley (Exeter/Plymouth Albion); D Lee (Plymouth Albion/Barnstaple), Mortimer (capt) (Newton Abbot), Richardson (Sidmouth). Replacements: Bryce (Brixham), Mason (Plymouth Albion), James (Barnstaple), Harris (Plymouth Albion), Mulberry (UWIC/Plymouth Albion), Whelan (Sidmouth), Bull (Cullompton).
Scorers: Tries – Chesters (2), Roberts; Conversions – Whelan (2); Penalties – Whelan (2).