Rod Petty’s reign starts with a home setback
Bridgnorth began their tenure under new player-coach and former Australian youth international Rod Petty with a home defeat to Sheffield.
The All Blacks fell to a 32-11 reverse in front of a healthy opening-day crowd at the Edgar Davies Ground.
Petty has joined from Stourbridge, where he was player-coach for two years. He played sevens rugby for his native Australia as well as turning out for their under-20s, facing the British Lions in 2001.
The hosts trailed 15-3 at half-time and rallied after a couple of changes to reduce the scoreline to 15-11 but the much-fancied Sheffield side managed another two tries to take a bonus point.
Llew Williams’ early penalty gave Bridgnorth a brief lead but the visitors turned the score around by the break.
Loti Molitika and Ted Parker came on at the break and the home side improved, adding points through another Williams kick and Luis Evitt’s unconverted try.
A tough day for Bridgnorth was compounded by the loss to injury of prop George Newman, though local youngster Ben Prior, who has come through the club’s youth ranks, impressed throughout. Petty’s All Blacks head to Bournville on Saturday in search of their first points of the campaign.