Sedgely slip-up ben­e­fits Blues

Macclesfield Express - - SPORT -

RUGBY UNION ALEX HAN­NAH

AL­THOUGH Macclesfield’s game with Har­ro­gate was called off at the week­end, The Blues po­si­tion at the top of Na­tional Two North was once again strength­ened due to Sedgely Park’s loss away at Stour­bridge.

Sedge went down 15-7 mean­ing the gap be­tween the two sides re­mained at 18 points.

Head coach Giles Hea­gerty ad­mit­ted it was frus­trat­ing to lose an­other game to the weather but it was some­what ex­pected;

“It was dis­ap­point­ing as it means we have to play into the mid­dle of may. But it means were on the same num­ber of games now as Sedgely park, the lay of the land is now a lot clearer, in what teams need to do for a first place or top two fin­ish. We didn’t play as well as we could have against Broad­street and the play­ers wanted to put that right, so in that way it is dis­ap­point­ing for the play­ing group.”

With the fi­nal run in ap­proach­ing and The Blues heavy ti­tle favourites, Hea­gerty says the only pres­sure his side is feel­ing is the pres­sure they put on them­selves to meet the stan­dards they set.

“I don’t feel like there is ex­ter­nal pres­sure on us, there is pres­sure within the group be­cause we want to play well and get the job done. Peo­ple are go­ing to have to some­thing ex­tra spe­cial now to stop what we’re do­ing, we’re in a good place now in terms of a fit squad, so there is pres­sure on our op­po­nents.”

Macc have only lost one game at Pri­ory Park all sea­son, a record that Hea­gerty is ex­tremely proud of and has been key to his side match­ing their am­bi­tions this year.

“We’re very for­tu­nate to have a tal­ented group of men that work very hard, and be­cause of that, an av­er­age per­for­mance still al­lows us to win even if an op­po­nent brings their ‘a’ game, the win over Broad­street was a good ex­am­ple of that.”

“Home form is cru­cial; you’ve got to win your home games. With the ex­cep­tion of the sec­ond half against Sedgely weve played some great rugby at home. Its vi­tal for any team no mat­ter what you’re try­ing to achieve.

“But we’re now go­ing on the road for the next three weeks, and we need to main­tain our lev­els, that starts with this week­end against Pre­ston.”

The Blues face Pre­ston Grasshop­pers this week­end, and Hea­gerty knows his side are in for a tough time against a side that has de­feated both Stour­bridge and Sedgely Park this sea­son.

“Light­foot lane is a tough place to go. It’s a big wide pitch and they have some tal­ented play­ers to match in­clud­ing a very good fly half and a cou­ple of handy back three play­ers and their pack is sharp. Their form is of no sur­prise, we’ve got to go there and per­form how we know we can.

“The weather fore­cast is good so hope­fully the track will stay dry, which suits us. They’re com­ing off the back of a de­feat against Luc­to­ni­ans who have done re­ally well to get them­selves out the mire.”

As well as be­ing Macclesfield Head Coach, Hea­gerty also takes the reigns as Head Coach of Eng­land Coun­ties u18s for the first time this year af­ter four years as as­sis­tant coach. A prospect which ex­cites him.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with some very ex­cit­ing young play­ers. It starts on Fri­day down in Le­ices­ter, we have train­ing on Fri­day and Satur­day and then play against Le­ices­ter tigers academy on Sun­day.

“Then we go into camp the fol­low­ing Fri­day, we train with Northamp­ton saints on Satur­day af­ter­noon. We then fly out to Ire­land on easter Mon­day for a tri-na­tions tour­na­ment against France and Ire­land, it’s a short pro­gramme but its very ex­cit­ing.

“It’s a very re­ward­ing pro­gramme, the op­por­tu­nity to work at in­ter­na­tional level is bril­liant. They’re al­ways a very fo­cussed group and you’re play­ing against two in­ter­na­tional sides, its my first year as head coach af­ter be­ing as­sis­tant coach for the last few years, that brings with it some new chal­lenges and some new ex­cite­ment, I feel like a kid in the run up to Christ­mas.

“It’s good to go into dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments, it keeps you fresh and al­lows you to see how dif­fer­ent peo­ple do dif­fer­ent things. I al­ways feel re­freshed when I come back from an Eng­land cam­paign, I feel very lucky to be in­volved in it.”

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