It perhaps wasn’t the result most of us would’ve wanted, but sometimes rugby’s cruel. Losing to Rosslyn Park is no disgrace, but losing so narrowly is difficult to stomach. Most of the match reports suggest that Macclesfield Rugby Club took the game to Park, and were the dominant force for much of the game. Had the referee blown his whistle early instead of awarding the late penalty, then Macclesfield Blues would’ve come away with all 4 points, not just the losing bonus point. Still, there’s no point crying over spilt milk: what’s done is done. At least we supporters didn’t have to endure the long journey home knowing that on another day we could’ve come away victorious. Worst still, imagine hearing about all of this when you’re the best part of 2,000 miles away and powerless to do anything about it. Well, that’s what happened with Macclesfield Blues’ Director of Rugby and Head Coach, Geoff Wappett. After a bit of a logistical mix up, Geoff found himself in Tenerife as his team took to the field in South West London. Here Geoff speaks to Macclesfield Rugby about dull weather, disappointment and determination.
So how come you ended up missing the weekend’s game down in London?
“Oh, it was all a bit of an unfortunate mix up. I knew we had a few weeks without a game, and got caught out with the Rosslyn Park rescheduled game. I booked a week’s break in Tenerife, so I finished up missing the game. It was a bit of a bugger really, and not something I would’ve chosen to do normally, but there you go. I wouldn’t mind but it was miserable from Monday to Thursday too: you go to Tenerife for some sunshine, and we certainly didn’t get that.”
What has Andy Northey told you about the game?
“I’ve spoken with Andy and he thought we were unlucky not to come away with more than a single point. Whilst we can always pick holes in our game about what we can and can’t do, or what we maybe should’ve done, Andy did feel that we were unfortunate not to have won that game. Admittedly we maybe weren’t at the top of our game, but he still thought we were better on the day than Rosslyn Park.”
Was there any particular problem, or was it just one of those days?
“The shame of it all was that we had a bout of illness in the run up to the game, and I suspect that may have affected the outcome. Frankie Barker our number 8 had been sick and off colour. He played for an hour or so, but it wasn’t necessarily to his high normal standards. He has been playing really well has Frankie, and he’s literally come form nowhere to be an outstanding player for the Club. Chris Roddy who would normally at least be on the bench was unable to play for similar reasons. So in a way we were a couple of forwards light of our usual full-strength team. Still the lads who played really put in a shift: they led at half time and could’ve won the game but for the late Rosslyn Park penalty. The good point is that at least we came away with something. Now when we weren’t playing well, we would’ve left that game with nothing. We only lost two games recently, both by very narrow margins, so that gives us hope. I think I can safely say we’re nearly there, though that probably wasn’t the best comfort on the long journey home.”
Right then – next up Fylde: is this the big one for you?
“Definitely. I know Sedgley might be our local derby match, being our closet neighbour, but for me and the players this is the big one. Having played and met a few times in the league below, this is the game all the players want to do well in. When we played Flyde at home our side was depleted, but we still played very well. Unfortunately we just ran out of steam towards the end and lost the game. But we’ve improved as a team since then and built up some momentum, so we’ll be looking to come away from Fylde with some points.”
What do you make of some of the reports that Fylde may be missing some first 15 regulars?
“I realise they may have one or two players missing through injury, or at least that’s what I’ve heard, but I don’t pay much attention to that. In all the past games when they had the likes of Ollie Brennan and Nick Royle playing, we managed to look after them regardless. So in that sense, whatever side Fylde turn out, be that their best side or a slightly under-strength side, we’ll be looking to suppressing them. “
“I’m really looking forward to this game though and expect it to be an absolute corker. We know they’re a good side and we respect them as a team and as a Club, and that for me is enough. If that doesn’t motivate us, then nothing will. You always want to perform as well as possible against the best teams, and it’s this desire to perform that will be our motivation. We defended well right across the field last time and pressed them right up to their own try line, and we expect to do the same again. We know far too much about their game to sit off them and let them play, because if you do they’ll take you to the cleaners. All we’re hoping to do is carry on where we left off and hopefully keep it going for a full 80 minutes this time.”