'WE could have won the game,' was Sedgley coach Tim Fourie's assessment of last Saturday's Powergen Cup Third Round 44-20 defeat to Manchester at Grove Park.

'I thought the first 20-25 minutes our forwards were awesome, but then the youngsters got bullied out of it by a Manchestester side that fielded its first team.

'So in the end it was disappointing to lose, it would have been nice to have beaten them with our second team, but it also gave me a good look at a lot of guys at that level.'

On that score there were pluses and minuses.

'On the whole it also showed up some things that I thought would happen,' said Fouirie.

'People are always going on at me about why I'm not playing so-and-so, but after the first quarter a lot of our boys began to fad quickly , which just goes to show the difference between first and second division rugby, and indeed first division rugby and second team rugby.

'But one kid that really impressed was wing forward Dan Hall, he's definitely one to talk to and hang on to.

'He's not that tall or heavy but what he lacks in size he more than makes up for in enthusiasm and determination.

'He carried the ball well, he tackled well and we are already looking at pulling him into the first team set-up.

'I think he's the kind of kid who can come on and make a difference, but before we get to that stage he needs to train regularly with us and learn our patterns.

Hall, aged 19, was a member of the Gloucester Academy and is currently a student in Manchester.

The cup game also gave first choice scrum-half Dave McCormack his first opportunity to prove he has fully recovered from the broken arm he sustained in the pre-season friendly defeat at Waterloo.

'Macca came through alright but he still has to work to do on his fitness and sharpness, so he'll start on the bench this saturday and Chris Wilkinson will continue in the scrum-half berth,' said Fourie.

'He's done very well and his confidence is improving with every game.

'We can't blame him for any of the losses we've suffered, it's a team performance and he's let no one down.'

And talking of tomorrow, the Tigers return to National One action with a trip to Goldington Road to take on the Bedford Blues.

'We'll go down there and approach the game the same way as we did the last league game when we beat Penzance and Newlyn,' said Fourie.

'The win against Penzance gave us a lot of confidence, but there is a big difference between confidence and stupidity.

'Some of the guys are young and excitable and they have to realise that yes, we have to believe in ourselves and yes, we go out to win, but we can only do that if we stick to the game plan.

'We have to secure the ball in our areas and clear our lines, then when we get to their areas we have to set up the phases, play them through, kick the ball behind them, keep them turning around, keep them under pressure and make our tackles.'

'It's a lot to ask but if we can do all that then we have a chance of winning. But if we try and score from our own try-line we'll be in trouble, because every time we make a mistake they will capitalise.'