Monster sees ‘big improvements’ as audition stars return

Monster attack coach Andy Kiriakou says there are ‘heaps’ of pluses they can take on though. Their defeat in the first round against Cardiff In the PKT United Rugby Championship.

The county opened its campaign with a 20-13 defeat to the Welsh side on Saturday, having topped them by three attempts to one.

It was a competitive first game under the new coaching staff of Graham Rowntree, Mike Prendergast, Dennis Lemmy and Kiriakou, with a Series Two team largely outperforming three-to-one attempts.

In recent weeks, the coaching staff stressed that rebuilding would take some time, while echoing this Bernard Jackman last night on RTÉ’s Against the Head.

However, strikers coach Kyriakou confirmed that many of last week’s errors at Arms Park were individual errors that can be quickly ironed out, ahead of Sunday’s return to Wales when they face the Dragons.

“We can deal with the malfunctions right away, as we were well challenged by Cardiff there,” the Englishman said.

“But some of that pattern is working, we’re seeing huge improvements over the summer in pre-season games and in the first round.

“There are huge improvements in these three games. What we expect is to keep improving and it will always be something long term, as we keep pushing ourselves and testing each other.”

Monster was beaten 20-13 against Cardiff last Saturday

“The way we train is designed to focus on the players, so it will inevitably take time and we should see improvement in performance going forward.

“As a group we understand that there are areas individually that we all need to work on and polish. That will come the more we play together. We will time our timing together and get that sense of what the players are going to do instinctively as well, and how we can support that. That will definitely add more precision about what we do .

“In terms of the team, it’s going to take a while to put these things to bed, and the great thing about it is that we have a really good long week to get some things right, work on them, keep improving, so our performance continues to improve over the weekend.”

The county will have to lay off 10 players this weekend who will be at Camp Emerging Ireland ahead of the South Africa tour, including first-team players Shane Daly, Josh Witcherley, Alex Kindlin, Tom Ahern and John Hodnet.

However, they will be able to call up all international front-line players for the first time this season, with the exception of Gavin Coombes and Andrew Conway who are still recovering from injuries.

Stephen Archer will also return after missing last week’s defeat in Cardiff with a thigh injury, while Mike Haley and Simon Zeppo will be monitored during the week as they return from strikes.

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