Having returned from a comprehensive defeat down at Esher last weekend, you’d naturally be expecting Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, to be disappointed and a little down in the mouth. However, whilst he might share the disappointment of the Macclesfield Blues supporters, he can also see a number of positives that might not be immediately visible to the rest of us. These positive signs give him hope for the coming weeks, and he believes they point to a brighter future for the Club. So what are these positive signs? What has the Coach seen that we’ve may be overlooked? Well, there’s only one person who can answer those questions. Here’s what Giles had to say when he spoke to Macclesfield Rugby this week.
What are your feelings about the Esher game?
“Naturally I am disappointed by the result, after all no one likes losing. However I also feel quite positive after that performance. We may gifted them 3 scores- I through a refereeing error and 2 through howling individual errors, but we never let our heads drop. I feel the players took an enormous step forward on Saturday. We showed what we are capable in this league, and that gives me great hope. More importantly we also showed a unity which, although not necessarily lacking before, was perhaps a little looser than I would’ve liked.”
“The players kept going even though the game was gone. They didn’t need to: they could just as easily given up the game and capitulated, but to their credit the players kept pushing trying for a fourth score. At the end of the day it didn’t come off, but we showed a resilience and strength of character which I think will serve us well over the rest of the season. So whilst I’m disappointed with the result, I’m extremely encouraged by the spirit and commitment that team showed.”
How did the players react after another loss?
“Talking to the players after the game I got a sense of excitement among the group. I got the impression that they feel, you know what – we can do this. Yes there are still one or two things to sort out, but they still believe they are capable of playing at this level. We got to cut out some of the individual errors we’re making and we obviously need to get some bodies back from injury to bolster our cause. Hopefully that will happen in the next week or so. But all things considered I think we’re in a pretty positive place.”
“What people have to remember is that 10 of the 20 man squad we took down to Esher have never played at this level before. I think after talking to the boys that Saturday was the seminal moment in their National 1 careers. They may have lost the game, but I get the sense that the realisation finally dawned on them that they can cut it at this level. That is really positive, and I’m hopeful from now on in that we’ll start to see a very different Macclesfield side.”
What about injuries?
“We’re hopeful that we may have some players back for the Hartpury game, but it’s still a little too early to make that call definitively. We have, however, signed 2 players who should hopefully be involved this weekend. They will certainly help to relieve some of the pressures we’ve been feeling in terms of injuries.”
So who are these new players?
“One of the players is Luke Frisou. We’d tried to sign him over the summer but ran into difficulties with his registration. That’s now been sorted out, and all we’re waiting for now is for the Italian RFU to release him. Hopefully that should be sorted out before the weekend. We’ve also signed another second row called Oliver Macaulay. He comes with a very good reputation, and I’m excited to have him on board. His signing will help to ease the load. With Dean and Tom, Billy and Chris Jones all out we’ve struggled: hopefully adding Oliver will relieve some of the pressure.”
What are you expecting when Hartpury come to Priory Park this weekend?
“I haven’t had the opportunity to see Hartpury play this season, but from what I read in the press I understand Hartpury have got some serious injuries of their own. I understand their captain is out, and he’s a serious player for them; but having said that, they’ve also got a couple of big players returning. So it’s hard to judge. But there’s no point focusing too much on the teams you’re going to play: what’s important is focusing on your own performance, and that’s what we’ll be doing.”