Pythons remain unbeaten
DESPITE conceding for the first time in the Spring Cup, the Pythons continued their dream start to the season, maintaining their unbeaten record with a 26-5 win over the Crushers at the Isis Showgrounds.
In a bruising encounter between the top two undefeated teams in the completion, the Pythons fought back from an early try to win their third straight match.
Tries to Steve Bertram, Matt Ross, Ikuna Manufetoa, and Matt Tanner saw the Pythons score 26 unanswered points to secure their strongest win to date.
In a clash which also saw a couple of yellow cards, the Pythons had to play the majority of the match with just 14 players on the ground, after Loyde Johnson got sent off after getting two yellow cards.
Pythons coach Victor Nio paid credit to his team for dealing with the obstacles and maintaining their unbeaten record.
"When they scored first, I reminded my team to stick to what we learnt from training, and match their forwards in every department," he said.
"Led by our captain, and our senior players, we did that and fought back extremely well to win."
Nio also paid tribute to the defence.
"When we went down to 14 players, we knew we had to tighten up, and not allow the Crushers to have any space," he said.
"Our defence did that and we were able to keep them scoreless in the second half."
Despite the win Nio said there was still plenty for the team to learn.
"We conceded a lot of penalties in the scrum and it could have cost us dearly," he said.
"It will be something we focus on heading into this week."
The coach added the Crushers played well and showed why they are among the teams to beat.
"Isis delivered exactly what we expected, and that was tough uncompromising rugby.
"The new structure they had was solid as well, and we fought hard to break it down, and win the match."
The win by the Pythons did come at a cost though with fullback Tanner going off the ground with a hamstring injury.
He is in doubt for this week's match against the Turtles.
"We may need to mix up the backline next week if Tanner doesn't come up," he said.
"We'll see how he goes through the week, but we won't be taking any chances."
The focus for the Pythons will be on stopping their experienced backs.
"The Turtles like to spread the ball around and use their backs a lot," he said.
"We've got a game plan to beat the Turtles, but they aren't the defending champions for nothing. We will need to prepare and play at our best to win."