Injury-hit Diss find hosts too hot to handle

RUGBYU Six Nations Players 092376

- Credit: PA

Cantabrigian 19 Diss 5

A depleted and injury-stricken Diss side found a resurgent home outfit far too hot to handle, suffering a severe blow to their automatic promotion chances as a result.

Cantabs possess the strongest front five in the league and continually put the Diss eight under intense pressure at not only the scrummage but also the line-out and tackle phases of open play. Diss were put under pressure from the outset but determined defence led by Matt Cullum kept the home side at bay for the first 30 minutes.

The visitors repelled a number of five-metre line-out and scrummage drives and manfully tried to break the game up by attacking close to the breakdown. From one such attack, possession was retrieved by Cantabs following a wayward kick. The home side responded by driving up field to eventually score their first converted try with only minutes remaining of the half.

Cullum and Kimi Latu were at the forefront of the Diss rearguard throughout the half but a lack of precision when kicking out of hand was proving a serious weakness.

Diss entered the Cantabs' 22 for the first time in the game on 62 minutes, attacking at close quarters in a desperate attempt to bring themselves back in the game. Yet again no one individual seized the initiative, with possession all too often being driven close to the breakdown rather than being sent wide.

Having relieved the siege, Cantabs kicked possession deep into the Diss 22 and following a series of handling errors loose possession allowed their wing to secure the ball and dash over and make the score 12-0 with eight minutes to play. Diss responded by attacking from deep in their own half to yet again present Cantabs with turn over ball from which to score a final converted try to put the game beyond the visitors.

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Diss rallied in the closing minutes, scoring a close quarter try through Matt Richards – but it was still a thoroughly demoralising afternoon.