RAMS’ trip to Leicester Lions ended in disappointment as the side at the bottom of the table managed to shock the league leaders to end their winning start to the campaign.
The two sides came into the fixture in contrasting form. The league leaders were unbeaten and the hosts on a five-match losing streak .
It was the table-toppers who went in front after Ben Atkins dotted down at the back of a maul.
Leicester Lions v Rams RFC Pictures: Paul Clark
Fraser Honey added the extras, but Lions took control with a dazzling second quarter, converted tries from Aston Gradwick-Light, Geordie Irvine and Nick Cairns firing them 21-7 up.
It could have been worse, but the visitors gave themselves hope on the stroke of half-time as they went the length of the field before Zach Clow dived over.
Rams were much improved after the break, and with the wind at their backs, pinned Leicester in their own half and often their own 22.
Jak Rossiter collected a second try in as many weeks and Honey converted Max Hayman’s seventh of the season, but with two minutes remaining the hosts struck from deep for Dan Lewis to scuttle over for the decisive score.
“We weren’t good enough to win the game. We had moments where we did some very good stuff and at times you could see we were in control,” said Rams’ director of rugby Seb Reynolds.
“After riding an initial storm we started the game well, got into their half and got the first score, but then we dropped off on our fundamentals and lost our way a bit. We also lost the contact area which cost us the game.
“Credit to Leicester, they played some fantastic rugby, moving the ball to the width and we couldn’t deal with that.
“We were too often pushed into a jockey and they got a foothold in the game with the three tries.
“In the second half I felt we got control back and with the wind the way it was blowing, we got into their half and we actually had some very good defensive sets which should have won us the game.
“But right at the end we lost our discipline, coughed up the ball and allowed a dangerous side into win it.”
He continued: “At this level if you give sides a chance, they’ll take it and at the end they’ve got nothing to lose, they were chucking the ball around and in a good game of rugby, Leicester thoroughly deserved to win. They were brilliant.
“They’ve improved game on game and we saw it at Moseley last week. We knew it was going to be a tough task, there was no underestimating it, we just didn’t get going as we’d have liked.”
Despite suffering a first setback of the season, the DoR still saw things to be pleased with.
He added: “It was good to come back and wrestle control, to release it again is frustrating, but there’s still huge positives in Colin (Thomson) coming in, Ollie Cole was very good off the bench and Dan Swain again with his 80-minute engine was just outstanding.”
Rams now have a three-week break before returning to action at home to Darlington Mowden Park on Saturday, November 4.
By Richard Ashton