If anyone doubted that the team were up for the challenge against Sedgley Park, then those doubts were soon dispelled as the Blues eased confidently to a 19-3 win against their North West rivals. It was the type of performance the Priory Park crowd wanted and deserved. Macclesfield Blues’ win last weekend was just the sort of fillip the team needed to bolster confidence as they head into 2 tough away fixtures at Loughborough and Cambridge. Sedgley won the previous encounter this season, so the scores are now even. Loughborough won at Priory Park in December, so hopefully the team can do the same down there and make that honours even. The Priory Park crowd certainly left the game happy, but what did Head Coach and Director of Rugby, Geoff Wappett, think? Did he have the same warm glow as the supporters, or was he already thinking about the next game against Loughborough? Well, actually it was a bit of both. Here Geoff talks to Macclesfield Rugby, about defence, determination and doggedness.
Was that a satisfying win?
“Yes it was. It was a great win, and I’m absolutely delighted by our performance. The lads really did work hard. What pleases me most is that it was the first time this season we’ve managed to go for the full 80 minutes without conceding a try. That was helped enormously by the fact that we dominated possession. We were in charge of the ball for quite long periods and that helped us dictate things.”
Did the conditions determine the nature of the match?
“The conditions weren’t ideal, and it was difficult under foot, so yes, that dictated how the game was played. The conditions did improve gradually during the game, but they still weren’t ideal for operating from, and put pay to any thoughts of expansive rugby. That meant that defence was paramount. We edged it there. Mind you, Sedgley defended heroically and made us work for our points. We got the 3 tries and worked hard for the fourth bonus point try, but it just wasn’t to be. It was a bit of a shame, but that shouldn’t take away from the overall performance. All in all it was a good show from everyone, and we made a really good fist of it.”
So what can you take from that victory?
“Well, we can certainly build on the performance. We’ve got 2 away games coming up, but we’re now heading into those games with confidence. We definitely feel there are points to be gained at Loughborough at the weekend. I think that we really should have won our earlier game against them, so we feel we’ve got a point to prove.”
What are you expecting from Loughborough?
“Loughborough are a good team, but they have been inconsistent this year. They play some tremendous stuff one week; then fail to sparkle the next. When they’re good, they’re very good. That 42-40 win over Albanians was tremendous. They were losing 40 points to 7 at one time, then turned it round and scored 35 unanswered points. That’s the mark of a talented team. They are a side of real resource who can play.”
“If they’re on form they’re a bit of a handful. They’re very good at offloading and always try to play the ball. The only problem with that sort of game is that they occasionally try to play that game when conditions aren’t appropriate. Sometimes they are guilty of forcing the play, and they can get themselves into trouble. Having said that playing like that can help them dig their way out of trouble. Just look at the Albanians game for proof of that.”
How will the Blues approach the game?
“We’ll be approach the game in much the same way as we did with Sedgley Park. We have to get out there and make a major impact on possession. The Sedgley game was always going to revolve around the set pieces, and I’ve no reason to believe that the Loughborough game will be any different. Our scrum has to be on the money, and we’ll have to put their line out under lots of pressure. If we can defend like we did last weekend and dominate possession, then we’ll give Loughborough a difficult time.”