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Mugford was always confident he would nail match-winning kick

12 May 2019 23:34 | Sara Raine

DAN MUGFORD insisted he had no doubts he would kick a last-gasp penalty from his own half to secure Devon a 30-27 win over Hampshire at Okehampton on Saturday.

The Plymouth Albion fly-half had missed a far easier effort five minutes earlier, but he put that behind him to break Hampshire’s hearts.

“I didn’t quite strike the first one as I would have liked,” said Mugford. “But you have to put it to the back of your mind and just stay relaxed and go through your process.

“I knew I had it in me and wanted to go for it. Thankfully, I got a clean connection and it went straight through (the posts).”

His kick was to be the last action of a thrilling game that had seen Hampshire come back from 27-17 down to level the match in the final 10 minutes.

“The ref had said depending on how long I took then it would probably be the last play,” said Mugford. “So I took my time as I backed myself to nail it.”

Devon had gone two scores ahead three times in the game but Hampshire kept coming back.

Mugford, who opened the scoring with a try after just six minutes, said: “We made things difficult for ourselves by playing a lot of the game with 14 men and even for a time with 13. But the boys put in a big shift trying to cover that extra man.

“The scrum struggled a bit in that second half but the lads grafted well and dug in and we came away with the victory.”

It was the perfect way for Devon to bounce back after their tough 54-14 opening day loss to Gloucestershire.

“We went up to Cinderford knowing that Gloucestershire were a strong team,” said Mugford. “But it was good experience for the lads. There were positives to take from it and we learnt some lessons, which we showed this week.

“There’s still things to work on in training on Wednesday, but we will try and put in a big performance against Cornwall next week.”

Mugford has made himself available for Devon this year after last playing for the county as a teenager in 2010 before going on to play for Cambridge, London Scottish, Albion, Nottingham and Sale Sharks.

“I think it has been nearly 10 years since I last played for Devon,” said Mugford, who featured in a Devon side that also included Dave Ewers and Graham Dawe in 2010. “But I haven’t played much rugby this year due to injuries so it is great to be out enjoying it and hopefully bringing something to the party.”

Meanwhile, Devon head coach Dan Parkes felt his side had done enough for the win against Hampshire on Saturday, even though they needed a last-gasp penalty to seal it.

“I think we were the better team and deserved to win, but we made really hard work of it,” said Parkes.

“Our defence – our first up tackles – was poor, but attacking wise we looked really dangerous.

“All credit to the boys they played 30 minutes with 14 men and we stuck in well and Muggie pulled off that kick at the end.  It does give us something to play for next week against Cornwall.”