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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Whitehaven coach hails players' 'gutsy' efforts at Keighley

Dave Woods hailed Whitehaven’s flying start to the Championship campaign after they pulled off a hard-fought 16-12 win at Keighley Cougars yesterday.

Whitehaven coach photo
Dave Woods

Promoted Haven had to dig deep to return home with maximum points from their first away trip of the season, following last week’s home victory against York.

“At the start of the year, if you had said we would be two from two, we would have jumped on it, and grabbed it with open arms,” the coach said.

“It was a great, gutsy effort today. Defensively, I thought the boys were outstanding and showed a lot of character, toughness and resilience. The forward pack was tremendous.”

Woods is not getting carried away however and warned there was more to come in attack from his team after struggling at times to break down the Cougars.

“We got down to their 40 and seemed to lose all composure and idea. We have some real smart players, but that is leaving us a little unstuck at the moment,” added Woods, whose decision to take winger former Great Britain winger Ade Gardner and leading prospect Anthony Walker on dual registration from St Helens paid off.

Gardner created a try with a pacy burst and Walker stood out with some bruising hits.

Woods said: “Ade Gardner is an international and the way he flew down the touchline and threw the ball back on the inside was great for us. The boys were a little in awe of him and a little quiet around him.

“Ant Walker is a young fella whose line speed is tremendous, and some of his contact was really good.

“They’ve ha d a good St Helens grounding. It worked well for us today, we will see how it goes for the rest of the weeks.”

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