Sometimes when things aren’t going according to plan, you just have to make difficult decisions. It happens in rugby, just as it happens in life. That’s was the dilemma facing Head Coach, Giles Heagerty last weekend at Cinderford. He believes in giving the players responsibility and letting them make the calls on the field, but when things aren’t going right then you just have to make the difficult call and tell players exactly what they need to do. That was the decision Giles made last weekend after a disappointing and faltering first half display. Macclesfield Blues played much better during the second half, but sadly couldn’t break down the resilient Cinderford defensive line. So what now for the team with the prospect of Fylde looming on the horizon? Well, according to Giles the answer is not to panic. There’s no pressure on the Blues going into the Fylde game: the expectation is all on them. Here’s what Giles had to say when he spoke to Macclesfield Rugby earlier this week.
The Cinderford match could definitely be described as a game of two halves: do you think Cinderford caught the Blues cold during the first 40 minutes?
“Well, there’s no doubt that Cinderford came out of the traps pretty quick, and we didn’t, but I wouldn’t say we were caught cold. It’s perhaps more a matter that we underestimated them. WE certainly weren’t reactive enough with our game plan on the field. We completely changed the way we played after half time and that’s why you saw a different Macclesfield side, and a much more fluid type of rugby.”
“As a coach you try and empower players, but sometimes because of some of the decisions they make, or don’t make in this case, you have to take that away from them and tell them what needs to happen. I certainly don’t like doing it as a coach as I’d much rather the players took responsibility. But sometimes you have to make these calls: it’s part of the territory of being a coach. Besides which if you do make that call and it has a positive impact on the game, then you’re earning your corn. Because we’d faltered badly in the first half, it meant we had a mountain to climb in the second half. The problem was also compounded by the fact that we still couldn’t manage to hold onto the ball as much as we needed to in the second half and that’s why we couldn’t get more than one score.”
Are you likely to change the game plan against Fylde, or stick with what you’ve been doing?
“This might sound odd, but there’s no pressure on us going into this game, so that’s the attitude we’ll be taking into the game. If you asked most people, not many of them will be expecting us to take any points from Saturday’s game, given that Fylde are in the top 3. It was the same when we played Ealing. I’m not saying that it’s a nice feeling to have, but it does bring a sense of clam to proceedings. We know what we need to do to get something out of that game, and we have to focus on that.”
“It would be far too easy to look at Fylde and think oh God they’re a top 3 side who gave us a stuffing at home – we don’t have a hope. But you won’t find that sort of attitude amongst my players. What we’re looking at is what we can do, and where can we improve to get something out of the game. It’s really no different than where we’ve been focusing all season – that is setting small targets and looking to tick these off during the course of a game.”
“We’re also aware that after this game we’ve got 10 days off, and I think it’s fair to say that we all need the break. But because this is the last match before the Christmas break we know that the players will raise their game and that effort levels will be up. There’s not much else I can say really: we know where Fylde are in the league, and we know what they’re capable of if you let them have the ball, so we’ve just got to stop them doing that.”