Soper pleased with ‘exceptional’ victories

Bann picked up yet another bonus point on Saturday. INBL1544-273PB
Bann picked up yet another bonus point on Saturday. INBL1544-273PB

Coach Daniel Soper was well pleased with the way his squad had performed in what he had previously described as a season-defining block of games.

“At this time of year to get three bonus point wins is exceptional,” he said after Saturday’s win over Queen’s.

“Cashel were pressing near the top of the table when we played them and Queen’s were beginning to show some decent form. So I’m especially pleased that in those three games we only conceded two tries – our defence has got us through those games. We denied Queen’s any points in our two matches against them so unless things go particularly well for them over the rest of the season that’s one less team in the chase.”

Soper said that Ryan Patterson had been “busting a gut to get on” and his contribution underlined the quality in the squad.

“We can’t go 18 games with 15 players. There is always some natural rotation but with Dale Carson out and then Nico getting injured Ryan got his chance today and didn’t he take it well,” added the Kiwi.

“I thought Stephen Irvine stood out again and Kallan Martin was excellent at the tackle and breakdown. The front row guys were very good – if you get things right up front it makes it all a bit easier.

“We’re two points ahead of where we’d hoped to be at Christmas. So we’ll look at the next wee block of games and if we keep hitting our targets hopefully come 2nd April we’ll be in the mix.”