Bottom-of-the-table Whites told to tighten up at the back
SWANSEA have been told they must cut out defensive mistakes if they are to end their Premiership losing streak at Newport tomorrow (2.30pm).
The Whites are bottom of the table having not won a league game since the second weekend of the season against Aberavon.
Mefin Davies's side suffered a sixth successive defeat when they were beaten 41-17 at home to Carmarthen Quins last Saturday, and team manager Ian Hopkins has warned they must tighten up.
"We're making individual errors and trying to do things in games we never do in training," he said.
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"There have been interception passes and players are running the ball from their own 22 when they should be kicking it away.
"We had a really tough training session on defence earlier this week. We had to get the message across that we can't afford to make those mistakes."
Although Swansea lifted morale with a 43-17 victory over Dundee in the British & Irish Cup last month, the encouragement was then punctured when they lost 41-17 to the Quins in the same competition.
A Premiership defeat to the Quins by an identical scoreline left the Whites at the bottom of the table with just six points to their name.
"We felt we were putting together some good performances before our game with Quins, but unfortunately that match was extremely disappointing," said Hopkins.
"The coaches thought our performances before that had deserved better results and, having lost to Quins away from home in the British & Irish Cup, we thought we could get one over them in the league at St Helen's.
"Unfortunately, those hopes proved to be pie in the sky and that was mainly down to our defence, which was very poor."
This has been a testing start to Davies's tenure as head coach, but Hopkins insists the new regime do not feel under pressure.
"It's frustration more than pressure that players and coaches are feeling at the moment," he added.
"The coaches know the players can produce, and we know they are capable of putting the performances together.
"It will take time. There are new coaches in place and a lot of new players. Unfortunately we had to replace our outgoing key players with youngsters rather than experienced players."
Swansea take on Newport tomorrow at what could be an inopportune time.
The Black and Ambers beat reigning Premiership champions Pontypridd 20-19 last Sunday, and they will be at home again when they face the out-of-sorts St Helen's side.
"For Newport to down Pontypridd was an excellent result," said Hopkins.
"It's always a high-scoring match when we go to Rodney Parade, and we're expecting the same again this weekend.
"They like to throw the ball around and, although we need to tighten in defence, that's the style of play which suits us as well.
"We haven't got the players to play a tight, forward-based game, so we'll be looking to make the most our pace out wide. If we can keep their home crowd quiet, that will be half the battle won."
The Whites have an injury concern on the right wing, while they are yet to confirm whether it will be Cameron Clement or Sam Davies starting at fly-half.
Swansea: Nicky J Thomas; TBC, A. Jenkins, B. Roberts, R. Williams; C. Clement or S. Davies, J. Preddy; M. Norman, S. Otten, Nicky Thomas, B. Fox, R. Hughes, R. Dudley-Jones, D. Baker, J. Bija. Reps: A. Rees, N. Smith, I. Williams, S. Kiley, J. McKenna, J. Cole, N. Harwood.