Saumi disappointed to lose after dream start
PLYMOUTH Albion coach Nat Saumi was bitterly disappointed his side blew a 'start everybody needs' to lose by five tries to three against Nottingham.
Albion were 15-0 up after as many minutes on Saturday, thanks to two tries for city-born winger Jack Arnott and five points from the boot of Paul Roberts.
But then it all went wrong for them, conceding four unanswered tries to go 26-15 down before pulling it back to 26-22, only to then lose 31-22.
"It is another disappointing result after a very good start," said Saumi, who has seen his side lose their last four league and cup games after winning four of their opening five fixtures.
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"We were 15 points up and then it was the same story – set piece and errors again.
"I don't know how the referee interpreted the scrum for their penalty try, I will ask him, but second half we turned the ball over and that was it."
Albion scored their first try after just 28 seconds. It was so quick that Saumi had not even got to his position in the dug out.
"I did not see the first try," he admitted. "I was in the changing room and I came out and the conversion was about to be made.
"That was the start everybody needs, but composure wise we did not hold it."
Albion still led at half-time but two quick tries straight after the break put Nottingham in command.
Saumi admitted the first 10 minutes of the second half were crucial to the final outcome.
"I don't know what happened," said Saumi. "The players came out on the pitch (for the second half) and I don't know if they were still day dreaming, but suddenly they (Nottingham) had two tries which killed us."
That left Albion chasing the game and more and more errors crept in.
"A few games now I have said when we start chasing games that is when there is no patience and you start creating errors," said Saumi. "The error count soon mounts up. When you are playing catch up rugby you start making mistakes."
Saumi acknowledges that his team have to stop leaking tries.
Rotherham are the only team not to have picked up at least a bonus point against Albion in the league and in their last two Championship matches they have let in 13 tries, while they have conceded 12 in their two British & Irish Cup games with changed line-ups.
"We mentioned that (defence) during the week," said Saumi. "But it comes down to concentration.
"For us the first 20 minutes we defended very well, but then suddenly – well the players know themselves and it has to be put right because we can't keep leaking tries because it does catch up on you, like it did on Saturday.
"We are scoring tries, but if you keep leaking many you'll find yourself playing catch up and then it can be too late. That is what we experienced on Saturday."
The loss on Saturday was Albion's first defeat at home in the league this season after seeing off Doncaster, Leeds and Rotherham at home.
Saumi said: "This is the second window of the season (in between the British & Irish Cup) and everyone needs those wins.
"It is important to win your home games if you want to be in the top eight.
"Now we need something to balance that out. Hopefully, that will come next week (at Jersey), but it will be tough.
"Jersey had a good win (against London Scottish), so the boys have to work extra hard now as Jersey's confidence will be up.
"Their tails will be up and they will have gained confidence."
Saumi was particularly frustrated Albion did not at least get something out of the game.
Had they scored a try near the end they would have got two bonus points – one for scoring four tries and another for finishing within seven of their opponents.
"The boys are disappointed that they did not get anything, but like I have said to them they have to learn quickly because games are coming thick and fast," said the Albion boss.
Albion did have a great chance near the end when replacement Keni Fisilau cut right through Nottingham's defence only to be stopped 15 metres out, but there was no one near him to off-load to.
Saumi said: "It is important for the guys on the bench to warm-up properly so you can make breaks like that but we did not have any support there.
"That is what we have been lacking for the whole of this season – supporting runners.
"We have talked a lot about it, but nearly every time we made a break on Saturday there was nobody linking up."
On what pleased him on Saturday, Saumi said: "It was good to have Rowley back after four weeks without a game. Sean-Michael always leads by example, but we did miss Luke Cowan-Dickie's carriers.
"But Paul Bailey did very well starting at centre and Lewis Warner and Jack Arnott did well, but as a whole it was our set-piece again which let us down."