Saturday’s convincing win at Priory Park against Cambridge makes it 8 out of 9 wins for Macclesfield Blues. They’re on a roll and looking good. Whatever Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, is doing seems to be working, so what’s the point of ringing the changes. Well, according to Geoff there isn’t a reason: why try to fix what isn’t broken? As far as Geoff is concerned all you need to do is play with the same intensity, keep the focus and concentration and press on if we want to maintain this momentum. The trick is not to take your eye off the ball – literally, and play your own game and hope that others start to falter. Macclesfield Rugby caught up with Geoff after the weekend’s overwhelming victory, and talked about intensity, injuries and intent.
How pleased were you with the weekend’s result?
“Oh absolutely chuffed with the result on Saturday. We played really, really well. In fact we were awesome in the first half. If a coach could ever visualise how he wanted his team to play, then essentially that is what we did in the first half. It was a complete performance, so much so that at half time there was not really much I could say about how we might improve things. They’d done exactly what I wanted them to do and were leading 26 -0 at the break. To talk about domination is an understatement. We were so in charge that Cambridge played little or no part at all in the first 40 minutes, and they were playing with the wind. We looked comfortable even against a very strong wind. There’s no point complaining of course: anyway we’re used to playing in the wind. The one thing about it is that strong wind and unpredictable conditions help the team to really hone in and concentrate. You have to focus on doing the right things at the right time, because if you don’t the weather take over.”
Did you ease up in the second half?
“Not really, though there were some signs in the second half that we were flagging. It’s understandable of course, because we’d used up a massive amount of energy, such was our intensity. The thing is you can only continue with such high-energy play for so long. We continued where we’d left off after the break for about 15 minutes and got the score to 40-0 with 6 tries, so I decided to make a few changes from the bench. If I have a disappointment it’s that when the changes were made the players who went on were perhaps a little too low key.”
“Mind you at the same time the referee decided to shuffle his cards a bit, and we finished up playing the last 10 minutes with 13 men, in which time Cambridge got 3 late consolation tries. Aaron Luckett got stuck at the bottom of a ruck and was adjudged to have been interfering with the ball: I don’t think he was, but the referee called it, so there you go. Then Iain Taylor got binned. So that made the whole game a little bit one-sided, but it didn’t matter in the end. I suppose it rather took the edge of the game, but I’ll take solace in the fact that up to that point we’d been absolutely outstanding.”
So how’s the season looking from your point of view?
“We’ve won 8 out of the last 9 games now and are on a roll. The only one we lost was against Jersey, and that was narrow loss anyway. Both Flyde and Rosslyn Park lost, so it’s getting interesting. If you look at the table we’re definitely part of that top group, and I think there’s only 9 points separating the top 5. We’re 14 points clear of sixth place, so look set for a decent run in.”
Will you stick with roughly the same team for Tynedale, or ring the changes?
“We’ll stick with what works for us: there’s no point in making changes to a side that’s doing well. From a selector’s point of view there’s little to change anyway. We’ve still got the likes of Tom Eaton out with injury and Jack Sugden and Martin Kent, though I think there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for Tom and Martin. They might possibly be available for the Rosslyn Park game, so that’s a boost. The game against Tynedale will be a tough one – no question. They’re a good side who upset Rosslyn Park last Saturday, so can beat anybody on their day. Mind you the previous Saturday Cambridge beat them in Cambridge. This league’s all a bit topsy-turvy at the moment. We played poorly when they came up to Priory Park, and that’s something we’re looking to redress. We’re in a good mood in the squad and scoring freely, so we’ll approach the next game with confidence and belief.”