The first test is done and dusted and and the theme from that game unfortunately is "opportunity lost". Not only in terms of the end result of the game, but also in terms of what was happening out on the field. We had several opportunities to assert our game against Russia, but we came unstuck through handling errors and because we were unable to force our game on them in the right areas of the field. Our analysis was bang on with what Russia would bring – a very physical pack which would play directly, forcefully and try to bully us around the park. The Russians lived up to expectations and we were not able to play with the width we desired. It certainly was an eye-opening test match for the new caps, who are now familiar with what a massive step up it is in the intensity stakes from our domestic Premiership competition. In the test arena, mistakes you might get away with at club level are soon found out in a test match, and the Russians certainly capitalised on those and put our errors to the sword on Saturday night. If we can control more of our ball and shape up in other areas ... we can really compete with Russia and just maybe cause an upset. They won the kicking and contact area battle and, quite simply, made fewer errors than we did. On a personal level it was a disappointing test for me, having to to taken off the field about five minutes into the second half. It turned out to be a bit more dramatic an experience than I had anticipated – being carried off on a stretcher. My ankle got trapped in a ruck and I heard a pop which gave me a bit of a shock and probably led to all the precautions that were taken. On the positives, the x-rays have shown no break and I have been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain. I am hopeful to be back on the pitch before Christmas if it keeps improving at the rate it is, and being a member of the Hong Kong Sports Institute I have been able to aid my recovery time with sessions in the hyperbaric chamber (providing more oxygen to the body) as well as being able to get regular ice treatments. So I am hoping my young body heals quickly. Compliments must be given to the HKRFU’s first aid staff at King’s Park. They were out there in a flash and were as efficient as they come. They were not going to take any risks and got me off the field without having to put any pressure on the ankle and certainly did their best to prevent any further damage. Being ruled out of this week is disappointing, especially as I won’t be able to correct the wrongs of last week. However, it is a massive opportunity for the guys on Saturday with all of our errors being fixable. If we can control a bit more of our ball and shape up in other areas, I believe we can really compete with Russia and just maybe cause an upset. A big congratulations also to Paul “Bird” Dwyer in being named captain for the weekend. He is already well embedded in the leadership of the team and runs the line-out, which was a real positive from Saturday, so it will be a smooth transition for him into the role of matchday skipper. As a 36-year-old veteran of the squad he has certainly got the experience necessary to lead the side through this all-important second test. I am confident that the boys will really lift their game this week. After a stern talking to from management, the guys are really switched on and look eager to put in the required effort and performance. And I encourage all readers to get down to Hong Kong Football Club before 6:00pm on Saturday to cheer the guys on.