Macclesfield Blues consolidated their position at the top of National League 2 North last weekend with a convincing win at Preston Grasshoppers. This weekend they’re on the road once again and will travel down to Westleigh Park to take on Leicester Lions.
When the teams last met at Priory Park in November, the game was very one-sided. However, things have changed since then. Leicester Lions are sitting comfortably in fourth place in the league, having despatched teams like Sedgley Park and Stourbridge en route: their home record is also superb, having only lost once. Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, knows that this time around the scale of the task facing Macclesfield Blues is huge, but he remains confident that the team have what it takes to come away with points.
Were you satisfied with the performance and result against Preston Grasshoppers?
“Yes, I was very pleased indeed, but in the interests of transparency I must tell you I’ve only watched it on video as I was away with England Counties last weekend. However, everything I saw backed up everything I’d heard, and I must admit it was a pretty impressive performance. We knew it was going to be challenging, but the team were up to the task.”
Do you expect an even tougher encounter when the Blues travel down to Westleigh Park this weekend then?
“It’s definitely going to be a tough game. Leicester Lions’ home record is very impressive. They’ve only lost one match there this season, and have won the other eleven. Westleigh Park is somewhere I know really well because I played rugby there when I was a child, and it hasn’t changed a bit. It’s become something of a fortress this season, and winning will not be easy.”
“Leicester are in good form. They’re playing fantastically well, and seem to have bounced back from what was, from all accounts, a difficult season last year. They’ve got themselves in good shape and they’re sitting high in the league. We know it’s going to be difficult, particularly with Leicester Lions playing as well as they are. So we’re going to have to make sure that we are really on top of what we need to do.”
“We set the boys a challenge last week for the next 6 games; the first part of which they delivered on last weekend. At training tonight I’m going to set the boys another challenge for the remaining 8 games, and if the response I get is anything like the response I got last weekend, then I know they will deliver superbly.”
Have you seen anything specific in Leicester’s game which might make you change the game plan, or will the Blues treat this encounter just like every other game?
“The only thing they have which might dictate our tactics and team selection is their strength up front. Because of that we may have to look again at the balance of our bench. Other than that, we’ll just approach the game in the same way. We know how we want to play, and we know if we start making significant changes because of what the opposition is doing at this late stage of the season, the chances are we’ll probably come unstuck. The good thing is the track should be dry and that should really help us and our attacking game. What we have to do is make sure that Leicester’s game doesn’t get in the way of what we want to do.”
What are Leicester’s main threats?
“Other than their strength up front, I suppose it’s their attacking threat. They’ve been involved in some high scoring games this season, and they’ve got a very potent back line. You don’t get to their league position without being able to score points. They’re very good at grinding teams down and hitting them on the break. They’re centres are direct; their fly half has good tactical nous and their scrum half is a very good player. He’s been around a while and he knows how to get his pack moving forward. So we know we’ll have to manage him carefully.”