We’ve done some things very well over the last 4 weeks, but we’ve not strung anything together consistently across 80 minutes

‘It’s all about building momentum and getting better each week.’

That’s been the mantra of Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, for the last few weeks, and it would appear that the team are taking that message on board, especially if last weekend’s Priory Park performance against South Leicester is anything to go. Macclesfield Blues were rampant, securing the bonus point after only 30 minutes, and running in 8 tries in total. As performances go, you couldn’t really have asked for more. Yes, the team did appear to take their foot off the gas in the last 20 minutes, but the game was already done and dusted by then.

However building momentum is one thing: maintaining it is rather more difficult. If the Blues want to continue their rich vein of form, then they’ll need to cut out the errors and apply themselves better. That’s the new message from the management team: maintain focus and concentration, and concentrate for the whole 80 minutes.

Next up for Macclesfield Blues is a trip up to is the North East where they’ll take on Tynedale. Tynedale Park is never an easy place to go at the best of times: if you want to come away with a result, then you’re going to have to earn it. Giles, however, is confident that if the team can maintain their form and shape then they should hopefully come away with something. Here’s what Giles had to say when he spoke to Macclesfield Rugby earlier this week.

As you’ve been asking for improved performances each week, were you happy with the team’s performance against South Leicester?

“Well obviously I was pleased with the result and with certain things we did, that wasn’t what I would regard as a complete performance. We scored 47 points and we did some really good things during the game, but after reviewing our performance yesterday both the players and the coaching staff felt we let our standards drop a little bit. So whilst we’re pleased to get the fourth win and to be improving week on week, we know we still have to keep pushing and driving on if we want to deliver a complete 80 minutes performance.

In what way did you let yourself down?

“The line out was ugly – very ugly in fact, and we were a little bit lazy in our defensive shape a couple of times. That laziness was particularly evident in set piece play. I think when we realised we were likely to be able to do what we wanted; we took our foot off the gas. We simply cannot afford to that in future because if you cultivate that sort of habit, it can creep in when you least want it to. If you’re playing against better sides, you’ll get punished.”

“Take nothing away from South Leicester. They played well and stuck to their gameplan, but we were able to take that gameplan away from them. As good as some of our play was, in terms of the standards we’re trying to set and hit every week, you’d have to say we were a little bit off last weekend.”

So the gameplan won’t be changing this weekend at Tynedale?

“There’s no need for us to make wholesale changes as our gameplan is pretty solid by and large. All we’ll be looking for are incremental improvements each week in specific areas of the game. We’ve got a couple of key focuses that we’ll concentrate on tomorrow night in training, but other than that we’ll simply continue doing what we’ve done well so far this season.”

Do you think this is a different Tynedale team from the one you played a couple of seasons ago?

“They’re obviously having a difficult time of it. Why that is, I don’t know. It’s not for me to comment or speculate about. I know Andy Buist and Scotty Powell reasonably well, and I know they’ll be doing everything they can to put matters right. I really hope they get things sorted out, just so long as it doesn’t happen against us.”

Are you confident that the Blues can take something from this game?

“As far as I’m concerned, complacency breeds failure. There’s a big difference between going into a game confident we can deliver a performance; and being arrogant about your abilities and expecting things to happen. We’ve done some things very well over the last 4 weeks, but we’ve not strung anything together consistently across 80 minutes. Last weekend we played really well for the first 40 minutes, passably for the third 20 and we were fairly dire in the last 20 minutes conceding 2 tries and missing 3 or 4 scoring opportunities.”

“Am I confident? Well, I’m confident in the sense that if we do the things we’ve worked on well we should have an opportunity to score some tries. But we’ve got to keep getting better. We still crave that 80 minute performance, but we’ll need to keep improving to achieve that. An 80 minute performance this weekend would be wonderful, but I’ll happily take 60 minutes this weekend.”

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