CITY CLUB MAKE ADVANTAGE COUNT
Andy Pratt says Saturday’s thumping win over Worthing was the perfect confidence booster for his squad after the defeat against Bury St Edmunds the week before.
Head of rugby Pratt described Canterbury’s second-half display in the 29-21 home defeat to Bury as dreadful but his team responded in spectacular fashion on their return to the Marine Travel Ground.
The city club had trailed 12-10 before a red card for Worthing full-back David Mcilwaine early in the second half changed the complexion of the game.
Canterbury went on to triumph 50-26 although Pratt felt his side were already starting to get on top before the contest became 15 versus 14.
He said: “The first half was tight and if anything Worthing were the better team but we seemed to come out a lot sharper in the second half and were already putting them under pressure before the red card.
“I’m sure there was no malice in what their player did but he did catch Charlie Kingsman quite heavily and I don’t think they could have any complaints about the decision.
“It changed things definitely but (as the team with 15) you’ve still got to make it work for you, it’s not a foregone conclusion.
“Teams down to 14 can be dangerous because it can really focus the mind but we played well and you could see confidence seeping through the side.
“When we’re a confident team we’re a dangerous team and some of the play we produced would have stretched them even if they had been at full strength. It was enjoyable to watch.”
Canterbury’s win kept them seventh in National 2 South and on Saturday they face another trip west to face Clifton.
The Bristol-based side have lost their last three league games but Pratt says that doesn’t mean he expects an easy ride.
He added: “They’re not having the greatest of seasons but traditionally we haven’t done brilliantly against them. A couple of times they’ve nicked it off us late in the day so we’ll need to be at or near our best to get a result there.”
Skipper Max Cantwell (rib) and back Aiden Moss (hamstring) both picked up injuries against Worthing. The latter could be out until Christmas and Pratt admits his attacking capabilities will be missed.
With back row trio George Micans, Sam Rogers and Seb Roche all ruled out for the rest of the season, Canterbury this week moved to plug the gap by signing New Zealand-born forward Aidan Woodward.
The 23-year-old, who represented Wellington at both under-16 and under-18 levels, was a target for the city club during the summer but opted instead to join Scottish National League Division 1 side Watsonians where he has found his opportunities limited.
Known as ‘The Hitman’ in NZ, he is the younger brother of Jason Woodward who plays professionally for Gloucester, and holds a five-year ancestry visa which means he does not count as an overseas player.