Well Geoff said get behind the boys and roar them on, and that’s exactly what the Priory Park supporters did. Boy did it pay dividends. For the first time this year Macclesfield Blues were able to secure not just the win, but the bonus point win. Victory has never tasted so sweet. Mind you, for a twenty minute period in the first half it could’ve all gone wrong. Still, half time came and Geoff said his magic words, and normal service was resumed. For the first time this season Macclesfield were able to shut out a team and end the half without conceding a point. So what were the magic words that Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett whispered at the break? Were they words of gentle encouragement or something perhaps a little more forceful? Well, there’s only one way to find out: read on. Here are Geoff’s latest thoughts on Macclesfield Blues.
I guess the victory over Cambridge was sweet: where you more relieved than pleased?
“No, I’m just pleased. Relief doesn’t really come into it, as I knew it would happen sooner or later. So I’m very pleased, not just with the result but with the performance in general. It was good for the lads and great for the supporters who cheered us on. It was good to see a smile on their faces afterwards. They worked hard and they thoroughly deserved the win.”
How would you rate the performance?
“Well, I don’t think that we performed better because we were playing against a weaker team. Cambridge are a well-drilled unit after all. We had been getting better week after week, but Saturday was the first time we’d managed to string all the good things we’d been doing in patches together into a complete performance. Mind you, even then we took our foot off the gas for a period.”
“For the first 20 minutes we played extremely well, putting things together neatly and finishing off our opportunities when they arose. But for the second 20 minute spell we lost our concentration, and clearly started to return to bad old habits again. We shot ourselves in the foot and gave away a couple of fairly mediocre tries. So at half time I had a word with the lads and told them – ‘come on, we’ve been here before: we need to buck up our ideas’.”
“In the second half we did just that, in spite of playing into quite a strong wind, and we dominated possession. We controlled the game maturely and scored 2 good tries. What pleased me the most was that they didn’t score at all, and remember that’s the first full 40 minutes we’ve gone without conceding. So, all in all, we managed to cross quite a few barriers at the weekend: things that hadn’t been coming off came off and we looked far more confident and sure of ourselves. That self-confidence has to serve us well in the next few games.”
What sort of challenges and threats do you think Coventry will pose?
“Coventry on Saturday is going to be interesting. They, too, have put a new team together and had quite a number of injuries. Sometimes as a team they’ve fired, and sometimes not. So it’s important we use all our recent experience and keep our concentration for the whole 80 minutes. We’re fortunate in that we’ve now got Frankie Barker back and that makes a huge difference. The back row combination of Matt Owen, Ryan Parkinson and Frankie at number 8 makes such a difference.”
“It’s probably the first time this season that we’ve been able to play a mature and experienced back row, and it showed not just how effective they are as a unit, but how difficult it is for other teams to play against us when we have control in that area. You know as well as I, that if you have a dominant back row, you can dictate what happens in the game. They keep the defence solid and the attack fluid. If we continue to play like that, I’m hopeful of getting something at Coventry.”
“What’s important is that we need to get something out of the game, and more importantly still, stop them getting anything, because that one losing bonus point might be crucial come adding-up time in April.”