Crusaders head coach Brian Noble believes a return to form is not too far away as long as his side continue to work on the basics.

The Wrexham-based outfit slipped to their fourth straight loss in all competitions on Sunday when they lost 50-22 to Harlequins – again starting slowly in both halves of the contest.

However, Noble is confident that his side can turn it around, he said: “We are in a bit of a hole at the moment and it is up to all of us to dig ourselves out of it.

“Our defensive fragility was really on show today and that is something we have to work on. We need to get back into the winner’s enclosure. We have to get back to basics as there are too many players doing the wrong thing, which is really costing us.

“We need to roll up our sleeves and work even harder, if we do that there are still opportunities for us this season.”

Noble continued by admitting that the Crusaders’ poor starts to games are not something to be unduly conncerned about, adding: “We have looked at it and we think that perhaps we have been putting levels of expectations on ourselves that we shouldn’t have done.

“That increases the pressure; increases the anxiety and players do things at the start of a game that maybe they wouldn’t normally do.

“We have got to put smiles back on faces, we are doing that, the players like each other and there is a terrific team spirit in the camp.

“Obviously we have to invest in things at the start of games but I’m not convinced it is a big of a problem as people are making out.”

Meanwhile, Harlequins dedicated their return to winning ways to absent skipper Rob Purdham, who remains on compassionate leave following the death of his brother in the west Cumbria shootings.

A minute’s silence was held at all rugby league matches over the weekend to remember Garry Purdham, the former Workington and Whitehaven forward, and the other victims of the tragedy that cast a shadow over Harlequins’ match against Crusaders.

“When the news came through we had a decision to make about how we handle it as a club,” coach Brian McDermott explained.

“I suppose the best way – and it came from the players – was how would Rob Purdham deal with it and that was sheer determination to carry on. So that performance, skip, is for you.”

- Huddersfield and Widnes have been chosen to host the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-finals.

In the first tie on Saturday, August 7 (2.30pm), St Helens will meet Leeds at the Galpharm Stadium, while holders Warrington will play Catalans Dragons the following day (3.30pm) at the Stobart Stadium in Widnes.