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Players must lead the way for Highland in search for first win as they take on Heriot's

By Andrew Henderson

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Dave Carson is looking for his players to lead a return to form for Highland Rugby Club.

Highland Rugby Club v Ayr - Canal Park, Inverness..Owen MacDonald gets the first try...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Highland Rugby Club v Ayr - Canal Park, Inverness..Owen MacDonald gets the first try...Picture: Callum Mackay..

A narrow opening day defeat at home against Ayr was followed up by a humbling loss away at Kelso last week, and it does not get any easier as Heriots make the trip to Canal Park tomorrow.

Carson and his coaching team will have been doing their best to drill the squad ahead of a new test this weekend, but he wants to see the players themselves take responsibility – and he is confident they will do exactly that.

“They were chatting on the bus and on social media between themselves and it’s just about having a gameplan,” Carson said.

“When things start to go wrong we move away from that, lose concentration and panic. The players aren’t sure what to do, so we’ll go over the tools we have given them to get out of each scenario and where to play.

“Hopefully this time they can execute those skills and get us in the right area of the park to score some points.

“In the second half last Saturday, we hardly got into their half, which was disappointing especially with a wind behind us.

“There were a few forays that we didn’t make much of, we panicked too much and expected to score too easily. We really need to work teams hard to get scores, they don’t just come at this level.”

Hard work has been the root of Highland’s success over recent years, but for the first time in a long time Carson believes he saw his side give in last time out – something that cannot happen again.

“They scored five or 10 minutes into the second half and after that some of the heads went down,” he said.

“We can’t have that, they’ve got to fight for that jersey and fight for the club right through to the final whistle and give their all.

“If they get beaten at the final whistle when that happens, you can hold your hands up and say you were beaten by the better side, but we need to have the guts to really go at teams until the final whistle.

“It’s probably the heaviest defeat we’ve had in years.

“Maybe we’ll get a good reaction this week. There’s a lot of chat amongst the players, who were pretty disappointed themselves.

“You don’t want to get stuck in a rut, and it’s going to be one of the toughest games of the season next against Heriots.

“It’s all there to play for, but we really need to get our heads in the right place and get on a bounce like we used to.”

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