Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, demanded a performance last week when he spoke to Macclesfield Rugby, and the team duly delivered and then some. Macclesfield Blues scored 11 tries in total in a dominant display against lowly Dudley Kingswinford at a rain-sodden and windswept Priory Park. That display means Macclesfield Blues are now the top point’s scorers in National League 2 North with a total of 56 tries. No wonder Geoff was purring. Sadly there always has to be a fly in the ointment. Scrum half, George Baxter injured his ACL and will be out of action for a number of weeks. With Chris Townsend also struggling with injury, the Blues will be forced to travel down to face Stourbridge potentially without a recognised scrum half. Still, they’re the type of breaks that rugby throws at you. The mark of a really good team is how they cope with adversity and respond to setbacks. Are the team all ready for the top of the table clash this weekend? Well, we’ll let you be the judge of that. Here are Geoff’s thoughts.
You must be very satisfied with the performance against Dudley; did everything go according to plan?
“It was a great result and an excellent all-round performance all right. Mind you, it was a difficult day all round. The weather was awful – wet and extremely windy. In many ways the conditions could have played a much bigger part and levelled the game. Fortunately the boys were able to overcome the grim conditions and put in the sort of performance we’d been hoping for. In spite of the score line, what stood out most for me was the dedication and commitment of the players. They knew they’d have to put in a performance and that’s exactly what they gave me.”
“To be fair to Dudley they were certainly determined to make a game of it. The score may not reflect this, but they ran around and tackled for all they were worth, and stuck at it even when he game got away from them. From our point of view I don’t think I could’ve asked for anything more. We upped our try scoring by 11, taking our total tries to 56 in 9 games – which is some going. I was also pleasantly surprised by our place kicking on the day too. Tom Eaton converted 9 out of 11 kicks which is some going, especially when you consider the conditions.”
“The only negative and downside on the day was the injury to George Baxter. Chris Townsend was struggling with a groin injury, so George was always going to start anyway having recovered from injury himself: he played really well and looked sharp and very lively. Unfortunately he injured his ACL during the game and will be out of action for several weeks which is a big blow for us, particularly with the game against Stourbridge coming up this weekend. We don’t quite know what will happen yet: maybe we’ll have to revert to using Tom Eaton as a stand-in 9, should Chris fail to recover. We’ll no doubt find out more in training this week.”
“That injury just goes to show that it’s never wise to make rash predictions. All teams will suffer injuries, but sometimes you have to depend on good fortune going your way. We’ve been lucky with injuries so far this year, but could’ve done without this one with such an important game coming up. Still, that’s the beauty and frustration of rugby isn’t it? That’s what makes it so exciting and unpredictable. All we can do is rise to the challenge and adapt our game accordingly.”
Is it too early to view the Stourbridge clash as a make or break game?
“Yes I think it is. It’s undoubtedly an important game pitching one form team against another, but with two thirds of the season remaining it’s not going to be make or break. We go into the game with injury worries, but we know deep down that Stourbridge will also go through similar problems sometime during the season, so these things have a way of evening out. We’re going well, but it would be foolish to get too overexcited at this stage. All we can do is just keep plugging away and playing as well as we can. We’ve currently got a good thing going, and understandably the team want to keep it going, but we’re fully aware that we’ll face the stiffest test of the season so far when we travel down to Stourton Park on Saturday. Stourbridge are playing well and getting results, but so are we. Our pack of forwards will take some stopping, and any team that wants to take our scalp will have to work for it.”