'Big crowd and TV pressure caught up with Albion'
PLYMOUTH Albion head coach Nat Saumi admitted his team paid the price for a slow start at the Memorial Stadium yesterday.
Albion, fresh from their 16-9 win over London Scottish the week before, were looking for their first win at Bristol since the 2004-05 season.
But they were unable to achieve it, losing 34-20, having conceded three tries in the opening 35 minutes against a Bristol team who had been struggling for form in recent weeks.
"We were targeting this game," said Saumi. "We went there to have a go and put them under pressure playing at home, where they have lost a couple of games. But Bristol did well."
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He added: "The first 30 minutes we were just defending and giving the ball away. They scored those three crucial tries.
"But once we started using the ball in the last 10 minutes of the half we managed to score two tries with 14 men.
"We realised we could score points if we started using the ball, but it was a bit too late having conceded those three tries to leave us chasing the game.
"It is always difficult to chase a game against a good side like Bristol."
Saumi felt his young team might have allowed the large vocal crowd and Sky Sports television cameras to get to them in the first half.
"I think playing in front of a crowd like that might have caught up with a few boys," he said.
"And playing on telly is pressure also.
"I reminded them that they just had to play their own game and forget about the telly, but it was the first time for some of them and I think it maybe caught them out early in the game.
"By the time they realised, they were three scores down."
Saumi added: "We made some offloads and I think there were some we tried to make that we shouldn't have made and all we ended up doing was passing into their hands.
"But it was good to see the boys trying out things."
Albion had gone in at the break just 17-12 down.
Saumi admitted his team really needed to score first after the interval, but instead they gave away a penalty that allowed Bristol to go eight points up.
"We needed that first score (after the break), but we missed the chance."
Albion now have a week off before taking on Championship leaders Newcastle on April 13 in their final home match of the season.