Kingstone Press League 1 Preview: Coventry Bears v North Wales Crusaders

Coventry Bears coach Tom Tsang was frustrated with his side’s 24-20 defeat at Oxford last week.

“We were very good in terms of performance and did some really good things throughout the game,” he said.

“In certain patches, it was as good as we’ve played but having said that, the 15-minute period when Oxford came back into it was probably the worst we’ve played.

“You’ve got to give Oxford a lot of credit, their defence was nothing short of sensational at times but 18-6 up with 25 minutes to go, we should be winning those games.

“But we’ve got a young team and it’s those game management type elements that inexperienced guys don’t necessarily have. But as long as we can use that as a learning process we will get something out of it.

Looking ahead to the game against North Wales Crusaders he said: “Their position in the league isn’t probably a reflection of where they’re going to end up. They came into the league as one of the favourites and I think that’s deserved. They’ve got good players across the park, are clearly well-coached and have done it in the big games having won the iPro Sport Cup.

“It’s going to be a good test for us but if we can replicate some of those really good things we did against Oxford and iron out those bits and pieces we didn’t do so well, we think we can give ourselves a chance.”

Andy Unsworth is a doubt with a knee injury, half-back Billy Sheen picked up an Achilles tendon injury while wing Jamahl Hunte has an ankle problem. Prop Jack Francis is unavailable.

North Wales Crusaders had a fine win over Keighley Cougars last week. Coach Anthony Murray said: “I was really pleased with the result. Keighley aren’t at the top of the league for nothing.

“They’ve been the most consistent team to date, but all credit to our players, if we stuck to our structures and completed our sets I knew that we’d cause Keighley problems and would be in with a shout of a win and we were.

“Coventry are a team who are new to this standard of rugby. They’ve been up and down with their performances but they are more than capable of competing and causing an upset and I’m sure they’ll want to get their season back on track after the defeat against Oxford.

“They probably felt they should have got more out of that game. We’ll have to be at our best to beat them and we won’t be taking them lightly.”

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