Macclesfield Blues may have a week off from National League rugby this weekend, but the team won’t be sitting on their laurels. There’s the little matter of the Cheshire Cup Semi Final to consider before anyone thinks about taking it easy. Still, the break in the league campaign offers the perfect opportunity to get the thoughts and reflections of the league campaign so far from Head Coach, Giles Heagerty. How have the team fared? Have they performed to his expectations? Is he looking for more, and where does he want to see improvements? Oh and there’s the small matter of what he thinks will happen in the game against Sandbach at the weekend. Here’s what Giles had to say when he spoke to Macclesfield Rugby.
Will the Blues benefit from having a break from league rugby?
“Well, not really, as we’ll still be playing this weekend. We may well have a week off from National League rugby, but we have got the little matter of a Cheshire Cup Semi-Final to play, so we won’t be taking things easy. It’s not something that’s been overly publicised, but it’s a game we’re taking very seriously. In terms of the league, yes we are having a week off, but we’ll be using that time to evaluate how our quarter season’s gone so far and looking at ways in which we can continue to improve.”
“In terms of the season so far, then things are going reasonably well. We’re top of the league and have managed to accumulate maximum points in 7 of those games. But I think it’s important to see things in perspective. If you look at the league table today, at first glance you’d say Macclesfield are going great guns. However, if you look at who we’ve played so far- the 16th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 6th and 3rd placed teams in the league, really with all due respect to our opponents to date; we’ve not really achieved anything yet.”
“We’ve played some good rugby and scored some nice tries, but it’s all now about improving our performances going forward. We’re currently in the process of reviewing our last 8 games. After that we’ll put our previous results behind us, turn the page and focus on the next games up til Christmas. We’ll be paying particular attention to the upcoming game against Sandal.”
Will the form in the next few competitive games give you any indication about where the Blues will finish this current campaign?
“I think we’ll know a lot more about where we’re up to when we play Sandal a week on Saturday. They’re currently lying fourth in the table and have had a great start to the campaign. They’ve taken some big scalps so far this season, and I’ve no doubt they’ll be coming to Priory Park looking to take another one. They’ll be expecting to beat us, so we have to be fully prepared for the challenges they’ll pose.”
What are you expecting when you play Sandbach in the Cheshire Cup Semi Final?
“Well, it’s a cup game and it’s a semi-final, so we know it will be a tough game, but it’s one we’re definitely up for. We made a conscious decision to take this competition seriously at the start of the season, so we’re putting out a very strong squad. It gives us the opportunity to have a look at a couple of the boys who haven’t been given their chances yet, and it’s an opportunity for some of the bench boys who haven’t had much of a run out this term to state their case. The strength of the squad should tell you that we want to win this one. It’s very easy to look at these games as an inconvenience, but we see it as an opportunity to compete and win some silverware. Everyone in the team is passionate about being involved in this competition.”
“We know it will be a difficult game, particularly as we’ll be playing a team we know little about. Sandbach have been involved in National League 3 for a long time so we know they’ll present us with a challenge. I’ve personally coached against them when I was at Wilmslow, but other than that we don’t know much about them. If people think we’re going to have an easy day of it because we’re playing a side in a lower league than us, then all I would say is look at what happened in the quarter final against Wirral. It will be tough, of that I’ve no doubt. I personally in all my coaching days never had an easy game against Sandbach, so we’ve got to get up and at them from the first whistle. We need to take this seriously, and I can assure you everybody will be taking it seriously.”