Tasmania were left to rue missed opportunities in their Australian Rugby Shield opener but assistant coach Justin Black believes there’s plenty of improvement left in the Jack Jumpers.
The Tasmanian men more than held their own in a 25-8 loss to South Australia, grinding the Black Falcons to a standstill in a 3-all opening half before falling away in the second term.
Captain TJ Pieters booted an early penalty and kicked strongly out of hand alongside boom centre Peni Ravai, who narrowly missed a 49m drop goal attempt just before halftime.
However, it was South Australia who shot clear in the second term, building a 18-3 lead before Tassie flyer Matt Noble gave the Jack Jumpers hope with a scything run to the chalk from 25m out.
Noble’s effort proved too little too late as rival fullback Savenaca Ronavuso crossed and converted on the full-time whistle but Black says the margin somewhat flattered the South Australians.
“I think we tried to rush a little and turned the ball over trying silly things, but we looked good when we were able to put those phases together,” Black said.
“We were definitely targeting this game but credit to South Australia, they really crucified us on the counter – they had better structure than us and their broken play was way too good.
“I’d say we shipped a few soft tries, especially that last one and the conversion blew things out … but I was pleased with our scrum, and we’ll keep getting better as the tournament progresses.”
Tasmania's next ARS fixture is on Friday 30 September against Perth Gold (full tournament schedule available HERE).