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Selection issues colour Wycombe defeat
HIGH Wycombe were bent double by the ghost of seasons past on Saturday, when unavailability was a key factor in their heavy 41-20 defeat at Kingsmead.
Inconsistency of selection plagued head coach Dave Roberts last season and Paul Gaster before that.
Gavin Bunker and Luke Harding have picked up the baton this year but nearly half the side that opened their Southern Counties North campaign with a thumping win over Royal Wootton Bassett were missing last weekend.
Director of rugby George Dorling says there were six changes, but insists those sort of selection issues will be the exception this season and not the rule.
He said: “We’ve got the quality there, it’s just the consistency in selection. This is the problem we had last year and it’s frustrating after such a great start to the season. But now we’ve won one, drawn one and lost one – we seem to be going backwards.”
However, Dorling insists it’s not just a case of same old, same old.
He said: “It’s nowhere near as bad as last season. Last year after six weeks we had played 46 players in the first team.
“I remember that because I bought a load of kit for them, I bought 46 sets and had no more left. But we’re nowhere near that this season.”
Most of those that were absent last weekend are expected back tomorrow for Wycombe’s trip to Thatcham, and they are sorely needed on last week’s evidence.
Despite dominating possession, territory and the set piece, Wycombe contrived to lose a game they should have won because of a poor defensive display.
The home team spent most of the first 40 minutes in their opponent’s half but a host of missed tackles allowed Milton Keynes to run through for four tries before the interval.
Full back Callum Liles did create a try for Patrick Aunula with a mazy run from his own half after the turnaround, and Ashley Coles and Sam Churchyard also went over, but the match was gone.
Dorling said: “Our defence lost us the game. We missed too many first up tackles. We had so much possession, our scrum pushed them back, we won our line-outs and were in their half for most of the game. But there was a lack of conviction.
“It’s frustrating, but there is a huge difference between first team matches and second team matches. It’s a step up in pace, a step up in physicality. Some guys take a while to get used to it.”
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