Brett Davey has spoken of his disappointment after his Knights were dealt a harsh lesson from Championship rivals Nottingham during their 15-32 weekend defeat at Castle Park.
“To be honest, it was the worse performance I’ve seen here. We had chances to get back in the game, but something went badly wrong and I can’t really take any positives from the weekend at all.”
Despite matching their opponents’ tally of three tries, the Knights were undone by a flawless kicking game instrumented by Nottingham full-back Kieran Hallett, who landed five penalties while the home side were unable to convert one.
“Our error count was very high and we obviously gave away a lot of penalties – it’s something we need to address because we’ve been riding our luck on that front for a few games now,” added Davey.
The DOR insisted he is not overly worried by his side’s poor kicking rate, a situation which has worsened now that that outside-half Mike Whitehead has undergone surgery on a broken hand and could be out of action for three months.
“We need consistency with the kicking because we have been using three different kickers. At least with Whitehead out we will have a regular kicker who can establish their own momentum.”
Davey is now calling for a ‘huge response’ from his players as they look to address their deficiencies before visiting bottom of the table Esher next weekend.
“After six games without a significant defeat, our reaction could define us as a side. At the moment I’m not sure what the players’ states of mind are, but there were worrying signs in training that this was going to happen.
“They need to accept responsibility for what has gone wrong and the senior members of the squad really need to stand up and prove themselves as leaders. I have been proud of the players this season, but not of some of their performances; we must learn from this.”
The club also wish to pass on their thanks to Knights doctor Andy Smith, whose fast response to Whitehead’s injury enabled the fly-half to undergo an operation this weekend which will hopefully ensure his rehabilitation period is as short as possible.