We’re pleased to be leading after the first leg, but the players will take nothing for granted as we prepare for the final game of what has been a long campaign. Throughout this play-off period, the focus has been firmly on remaining grounded, focused on our jobs and getting the job done. Now we are so close to the finishing line, that mentality is more important than ever.
We have huge respect for Doncaster and what they are capable of. They showed that for long periods of the first leg, where we were forced to defend and had our backs to the wall. It was a hugely physical game but the way the boys fronted up and put their bodies on the line was fantastic. There’s such a great spirit in the camp and that attitude has translated into our performances on the pitch. A major boost for all the boys selected in the 22-man squad was the backing we received from the rest of the lads in the squad. It’s a team effort here, so to see them sending good luck messages on social media and travelling up to the game to support at Castle Park was huge for us. It gave us a real lift.
In truth, we left Yorkshire slightly disappointed that we didn’t convert our possession and territory into more points. The positives are that we created plenty of chances, but ill-discipline cost us at times and a team as good as Doncaster can punish you if you give them the opportunities. We need to be clinical at Ashton Gate, do the basics right and execute the game plan if we are to pick up the win we desperately want.
Every player in the squad played his part on Wednesday, including the bench who made a real impact when they came on. It was great to see the collective attitude of the forwards to drive us on and lay a platform for the backs. Once again, Callum Sheedy showed what a mature player he is growing into and, as captain of this club, I’m proud of the determination and effort we showed.
We know it counts for nothing, however, if we don’t finish the job. Nothing is won yet and we haven’t achieved anything. What we have done is given us a chance, but fifteen points is very little, so we need to maintain that relentless focus at Ashton Gate.
The supporters who travelled all the way in the pouring rain were a credit to Bristol Rugby and there’s no better feeling than thanking them at full-time after putting in a winning performance. To play in front of a sell-out crowd on Wednesday will be incredible. It’s the sort of occasion that every player looks forward to. We know the atmosphere will be fantastic. We have a job to do and it’s important that we remain grounded and focused because we are all battling for the same cause.