FRUSTRATED Rotherham Titans head coach Mark Jones maintains his struggling side will get out of their current mire “together” as they attempt to recover from a record defeat to Yorkshire Carnegie.
Falling 43-9 to their fierce rivals on Sunday was sobering enough but it was also the club’s fifth straight loss in all competitions.
They host Cornish Pirates on Saturday in real need of a lift to kick-start their fading hopes of reaching the top-four play-offs for a third season running.
“As coaches, we’ve got to make sure our messages are clear and concise in what we want and then there is a level of responsibility from the players to deliver that,” said Jones, the former Wales winger in his first campaign as a head coach.
“We’re in it together, we got into it together and we’ll get out of it together.
“There’s no doubt about that from my perspective; I’ve seen enough in our game at the moment to be positive about that as I know the things we are messing up on are really easily fixed.”
Their inability to defend Carnegie’s relentless line-out drive – Josh Bainbridge scored four of their six tries by that method – was obvious at the weekend.
Jones, 36, added: “Currently, we have a set-piece that doesn’t function at key moments and we can’t get our game started.
“When we do get our game going and begin to put the ball through our hands we pulled Yorkshire around and created some opportunity.
“But then we get into their 22 and just lost the physical encounters so it is tough to take.
“But it’s something that as a coach I’ve looked at in great detail and knew if we didn’t get certain areas of our game right - our set-piece and discipline, particularly against Yorkshire - they can do that to you.
“All the answers we need to get back to winning ways are all within the group.
“We don’t have to go looking for anything we just need to bring to the table what we know we can.
“Unfortunately, there’s a couple of different things at the moment - individuals are making errors at the contact area either with ball-placement or just the clean-out and there’s the discipline at set-piece.
“It’s having a major effect in the momentum of rugby matches and the confidence of two teams who are playing.”
Rotherham have not won a game since prospering 48-12 at bottom-placed Ealing Trailfinders on November 21, their solitary victory in seven outings, and have now dropped to seventh in the league, 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Bedford Blues.
They will slip further still if ninth-placed Cornish, who defeated Jersey at the weekend, prosper at Clifton Lane.
Jones, who arrived from Llanelli Scarlets ahead of this campaign, admitted confidence is an issue.
“I don’t think your confidence levels are going to be as high when you lose as when winning,” he said.
“But the lads are turning up in decent fettle and doing their best on a daily basis but we need to start making the play on a weekend. That’s our work day.”