Despite a spirited performance, Macclesfield Blues couldn’t capitalise on their early dominance and finally end their losing streak at Priory Park last weekend. The Blues started the game brightly and quickly build a comfortable lead over Cambridge; however, Cambridge weathered the storm and were gradually able to take the game to the Blues. Although Macclesfield Blues eventually lost the game 24-36, they can take some small comfort from the fact that they managed to secure a try- scoring bonus point.
The Blues now travel down to West London to take on Rosslyn Park. When the teams last met the game was close for 60 minutes or so, but Rosslyn Park stepped up their game in the final quarter and eventually ran out 36-18 winners. Head Coach, Giles Heagerty, knows that if the Blues are to come away from the capital with any points this weekend, they’ll have to maintain their shape and their discipline. Here’s what Giles had to say.
Were Cambridge every bit as resilient as you predicted?
“I think they were. They certainly never gave up, even when they were trailing by 19 points. To their credit they stuck in there and eventually mounted a comeback. In fairness though, we probably gave them the opportunities to do that. There was a period when we were 19 points up where we conceded 2 penalties at the lineout and then from the ensuing scrum we gave a free kick away. Off the back of that free kick Cambridge managed to score and get back in the game.”
“I think that probably summed up the day. I can only really think of a couple of moments during the game where Cambridge managed to summon something up from nothing: the majority of Cambridge’ field position came off the back of our errors, be that ill-discipline or a knock-on. I think that was really the story of the game.”
Do you agree with some of the comments in the press that the difference between the two sides on Saturday was that Cambridge were more resilient defensively than the Blues?
“No, I’m not sure I do agree with that assessment. I think Cambridge got a little more excited than we did when they were pinned in their own 22. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with defensive resilience: the difference was I don’t think we managed Cambridge very well when we were under the pump in our own 22. Game management has been a problem for us all season.”
The Blues ran Rosslyn Park close for 60 minutes earlier this season: what will you have to do differently this time to maintain parity for the whole game?
“If I knew the answer to that question, I think I’d be a very rich man. I think what we definitely have to do is to make the most of the opportunities we get, whether that’s in attack of defence. I think our problem is that we probably gift sides to many opportunities. We get ourselves in good shape in attack, then turn the ball over: or we give penalties away which gives the opposition field position, then compound that giving further penalties away. They are the issues we need to focus on before the weekend. “
Will discipline be important this weekend?
“Yes it will obviously, but not just discipline in terms of giving penalties away: I’m thinking about discipline in terms of holding our shape and not giving the ball away unnecessarily. We’ll need to stick to our game plan and keep our shape if we want to get anything out of the game.”