CITY CLUB MAKE AD­VAN­TAGE COUNT

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Sport - By Mark Stokes

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.

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