It was a little too tight in the last 10 minutes or so, but Macclesfield Blues defended manfully and came away from Cambridge with a well-deserved win and 5 points. It’s amazing how a season can turn around so quickly. 3 months ago it was looking bleak, now the Blues seem to be approaching games full of confidence and with a swagger. It’s this new-found sense of confidence and self-belief that is making the difference in the opinion of head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett. It’s also this self-confidence that should help the Blues finish the season with a flourish. Here Geoff gives Macclesfield Rugby his thoughts about the weekend’s performance against Cambridge and looks ahead to Saturday’s visit by Tynedale.
Were you pleased with the Cambridge performance?
“It was a good weekend for us, and naturally we’re delighted with the result. It was a bit tighter than we would’ve liked at the end, but there was never any sense of panic. We’d done all the hard work and we were determined not to throw it away. In spite of the close finish I think we played pretty well. Maybe we weren’t at our most effective for the first 20 minutes. We tried to play too expansive a game and take the ball out wide too quickly. But when we settled own and played to our strengths we looked quite commanding. We made a few tweaks at half time and talked about our game plan, and then we started to play really well, going from 10 -5 down to 24-10 up. We took charge of the game.”
“Unfortunately, as has often been the case this season, we went through a bad 5 minute spell and conceded 2 scores. Fortunately Tom Eaton kicked a penalty to put us back in the lead, and we saw out the last 10 minutes manfully and ran the clock down. So 2 away games where we played really well and 3 wins on the bounce: it’s given us a great deal of confidence, and we’re now looking the part.”
Do you think it’s this new-found confidence that’s making the difference? Three months ago the Blues would probably have lost that game.
“You’re absolutely bang on there. 3 months ago we probably would have lost. But we’ve won narrow games recently and that is all down to confidence. We’ve made quite dramatic improvements and now believe in ourselves and our ability. Never was there a truer saying than confidence breeds confidence. We feel we’re now playing well enough to put a string of results together.”
Will confidence play its part in the Tynedale game?
“Absolutely- as will having a stronger squad. Tom Davenport made a 10 minutes appearance at the end of the Cambridge game, having recovered from his hamstring injury. He’ll be available for Tynedale. I’ve re-signed Tom Cruse from Sale Sharks, and I’ve also re-signed Ed Styles, a former Macclesfield boy, from Rotherham. He’s a wing/ full back and will add strength to the squad. I’ve also got Ricky Stout back, a tight head prop. Frankie Barker our number 8 is also fit again. So, all in all we should be selecting from a position of strength this weekend for Tynedale.”
“I always believed that if we could put a good run together in these 4 games we’d be able to go down to Richmond running hot and have a chance of coming away with some points. We trained last night on a nice firm pitch and things are looking good for the weekend. We’ll have no excuses because we’ll be fielding as strong a side as we can put out. The only players we’ll still be missing are Ed Stobart, Billy Robinson and Chris Jones. So I think we should be marching out on Saturday with confidence. We won up at their ground, and I would feel pretty disappointed if we don’t come away with at least 4 points on Saturday.”