Huddersfield RUFC establishing long-term plan off the field in spite of first-team struggles on it

It is fair to say the first half of the National League Two North season has been a tough one for Huddersfield RUFC.

After nine losses and only one victory so far, the West Yorkshire club are currently wallowing at the foot of the fourth tier.

Joint director of rugby Neil Ryan – who works alongside Rob Anderson in his role – believes such poor performances have been due to th compounding of simple mistakes on the field.

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Talking to The Yorkshire Post, Ryan said: “We’re making too many unforced errors.

Huddersfield in action (Picture: Mike Inkley)Huddersfield in action (Picture: Mike Inkley)
Huddersfield in action (Picture: Mike Inkley)

“I like my teams to try and play as open as possible, but we are making unforced errors whether that be poor kicking, not being straight in lineouts, or missed tackles.

“If you combine them together, (when) we make four mistakes in a game it normally leads to four tries.”

Despite this persistent flaw in the side, Ryan sees one great strength in his team in their sense of togetherness.

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Ahead of their run up to Christmas and the new year period, which begins with today’s visit to Otley, the former Sale fly-half agrees that this quality will be invaluable for his relatively small squad. “I think the priority for us, as we’ve had a few injuries and a few suspensions, is making sure we get everyone back on the field as soon as possible,” he added.

“We’ve not got a big squad. Whenever everyone’s available we are very competitive. For Saturday’s game against Otley, hopefully we’ll have a full complement.

“I think we’re a tight group. The lads all get on and we just need a bit of confidence to kickstart our season and hopefully that’ll come on Saturday.”

Today’s opponents will be looking to go one better than their tough 41-45 home loss to Sheffield RUFC last weekend, after enduring a similarly difficult start to the term.

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Otley are 10th place following three wins and eight losses. Ryan subsequently expects a tough but welcoming test in West Yorkshire.

He said: “Away games are never easy. I think from my point of view, for Otley it’s trying to get that good performance. I always say if you get a good performance, the result takes care of itself.

“We’re going to be there and thereabouts. I think the aim for Saturday is getting something from the game.

“Otley are a good side who’ve had some good performances this year. They’re always tough at home and normally have a good pack. They’re also good at set-pieces. They’ve got some exciting backs as well.

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“Hopefully if the conditions hold fair, it should be quite a good game.”

Away from the field, Ryan revealed the importance of developing the club’s community network in the West Yorkshire area as the new management team seek to establish the wider fundamentals necessary for long-term success.

The improvement of this aspect was identified early on by Ryan and Anderson, who were appointed to their positions this summer having previously held coaching roles at Lockwood Park. They appear to be making some helpful progress.

“We’re trying to build some strong foundations for over the coming seasons,” he said. “We’re just trying to get more connected in the community, working with schools and colleges and further education establishments, while also trying to work with clubs that are at a higher level, so we can look at player development and getting those youngsters into the first team.

“This is so we can get a good pathway between colts into senior rugby. We seem to be moving in the right direction.”

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