Intensity was the difference when St Johns Club Whanganui Metro lost 40-8 to Feilding Yellow in the Manawatū Colts rugby competition on the weekend.
Whanganui Metro's level of intensity dropped in the second half after a very competitive first half left them trailing 14-3 at Macnab Domain in Kaiwhaiki.
Co-coach Mark Cosford said a couple of early mistakes when the latter half began led to competition leaders Feilding Yellow getting on top of his side.
"They had a bit more intensity than we did and in the second half they just showed us the level that we've got to be at really," Cosford said.
"Our level's just got to lift a little bit more to be competitive. We're fully aware that we've got a young side that are pretty green compared to all the other teams."
Whanganui Metro retained just five players from last year's championship winning team who beat College Old Boys 33-0 in Palmerston North.
As well as gaining plenty of new young players for this 2019 season, coaches Cosford and Russell Gedye are also new to the fold.
Cosford praised his players returning from injury Mason Johnson and man of the match Louis Devine.
"They went really well and the young guys are coming along. They're all lifting to the level we're aiming to be at.
"We know where we've got to be and it's up to us to improve mentally to get there."
The loss left Whanganui Metro fifth on the competition ladder, one point out of the top four on 16 heading into the final match of round one.
They will take on second-to-last placed Massey Ag XV at Massey University in Palmerston North on Saturday, kicking off at 12.45pm.
"[The Massey Univeristy Rugby Football Club] have got their 90th anniversary so it's going to be a hard game and they'll have everyone on deck," Cosford said.
"Our breakdown got dominated by Feilding on the weekend, we've got to start dominating the breakdown if we want to beat them."