We know what Wharfedale are about and we know what to expect: we’ve got to go there and give it everything we’ve got.

Macclesfield Blues were not able to secure the first home win of the season against Blaydon, but they did at least come away with a losing bonus point. Whilst this may have disappointed the home crowd, the supporters would surely have been impressed by the strong defensive display by the team in the second half. Blaydon threw everything they had at the Blues, but the team defended resiliently.

That backs-to-the-wall display certainly impressed Head Coach, Giles Heagerty. He believes it clearly showed the courage and the character of the team. He believes this determination and self-belief will be needed for the last 3 games of the season, particularly this weekend against Wharfedale. Macclesfield Blues know they face a stern test on Saturday, but Giles is confident that the team are capable of going there and getting a result. Here’s what Giles had to say when he spoke to Macclesfield Rugby this week.

What did you make of the Blaydon game?

“I think we were unlucky not to get more out of the Blaydon game. We put in a very good performance, but one or two handling errors cost us in the end. We had a couple of penalty opportunities in the second half where we could have taken the points and settled for the draw, but sometimes you’ve got to gamble. So we went for the corner in order to go for the win, but unfortunately the line out didn’t work and we came away with nothing, other than the losing bonus point.”

“I suppose that’s just the nature of the game really: in fact you could say it sums up the nature of our season really if I’m honest. But regardless of that I think it was the right decision to take, and I fully back the boys for making it.”

Were you heartened with the strong defensive performance in the second half of the Blaydon game?

“Yes the boys really threw themselves into it. I can tell you there were some sore bodies in the dressing room after the game. They really put in a strong defensive shift, and that’s credit to them and the character of the group. We’ve always known it was there throughout the course of the season. But that shouldn’t take away from the impressive nature of the second half display. Blaydon are a handy side and it takes guts and determination to withstand the type of offensive assault that was launched against us. So full credit to the boys.”

What are you expecting from Wharfedale?

“We ran them close when they came to Priory Park, so I’ll be looking for a similar type of performance this weekend. What I certainly hope is that the referee doesn’t have too big an influence on the game, which I think was what happened when we last met. Whether that was as much our doing for getting on his wrong side, or his doing by being overzealous, I’m not sure. All I hope is that he doesn’t have an undue influence on the game.”

“As for Wharfedale themselves, well they are a good side. They’ve consolidated their league position and they seem comfortable where they are. We know what they’re about and we know what to expect. We have to go there and give it everything we’ve got. If we click on the day, then one would hope that we’ll be able to give a god account of ourselves and put in a decent performance. Judging by what we did in training last night, the boys are in fine fettle. They’ve had a full week off and looked keen and hungry in training. Now it’s game time. We’ll work on a couple of things on Thursday in training, then we’ll turn up on Saturday ready to go. With the sun coming out and the tracks hardening up, we should be in for a running rugby game, and that suits us well.”

Will the full squad be available for selection for the Wharfedale game?

“We’re pretty much running at full strength. Unfortunately Ollie Fewtrell is still struggling with the effects of a concussion he picked up in the Blaydon game. We had hoped he’d have recovered in time to play on Saturday, but he started to display one or two symptoms in training last night, so it’s a risk we can’t afford to take.”

“We’re hoping, however, that Greg Newton might be about to come back into the mix. He tore his bicep earlier in the season, but he’s due for a fitness test on Thursday. Hopefully he’ll be available for selection if he passes that. Other than that we’re as close to full strength as we could hope to be at this point in the season.”

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