We can avenge loss says Giles
MACCLESFIELD Blues head coach Giles Heagerty insists his team have come on leaps and bounds since their last encounter with Cambridge ahead of this weekend’s clash between the two sides.
Macc went up against them back in October, suffering a narrow 26-20 loss away from home.
They now meet again at Priory Park on Saturday, and Heagerty believes his side have what it takes to gain revenge.
“We’ll be playing to win naturally, and I think, given the positives we showed last weekend, we can go into the game with confidence,” he told the club’s official website.
“When we met previously we did an enormous number of good things, but our finishing was deeply disappointing. We’ve worked very hard since then, and I think we’ve got significantly better. So I’d say we’re definitely much better prepared this time around.
“I was talking to Ampthill’s Head Coach after the game at the weekend and he summed up Cambridge brilliantly by saying that they seemed to be impervious to conceding tries. Obviously that’s not to say that they don’t concede tries, because clearly they do.
“What he meant was when they concede a try, they don’t dwell on the disappointment: they just get on with it and come back at you.
“So the message for us this weekend is clear; we have to keep going. It’s no point thinking the job is done if you score a couple of tries. It’s not.
“Cambridge won’t break: they’ll just come back stronger. So we have to take every opportunity to score points if we want to win this game.”
Macclesfield head into the match on the back of a 36-10 defeat to Ampthill on Saturday, but despite the loss, Heagerty saw some positives in the performance.
“I was actually very encouraged by the first 30 minutes of the first half. Our first two attacking sets were very good,” he said.
“Our shape and our set was very good and we were causing Ampthill some real problems. Defensively we were also very strong, though ideally I would’ve preferred not to be defending for so long.
“I think that was probably our best defensive showing of the season, and it took a lot of effort on Ampthill’s part to break us down.
“I think that work in the first half allowed us to do what we did in the last 12 minutes of the second half. Our bench was very dynamic, and the hard work that Ampthill had had to expend in the first half to break down our defence started to take its toll.
“They were tired, and our quick lads were able to exploit that. We stuck to our shape and started to cause Ampthill some real problems, particularly Lewis Barker who was exceptional at both full back and fly half.
“The positives show that when we are firing we are very good. I also think it shows that the future for this club is pretty bright.
“Unfortunately, the frustrations then start to kick in, and by that I mean the first 25 minutes after half time.
“We fumbled a kick off receipt and immediately put ourselves under pressure. From that we conceded a score and started to drop off tackles.
“Whether that had anything to do with the effort we’d expended in the first half is difficult to say. Maybe it had: maybe it hadn’t.
“Then we lost our disci- pline a little, talking back to the referee and conceding the yellow card. All of these mistakes just put us under the pump. So yes, I do take heart from the good things we did in the game, but I’m still frustrated with that 25 minute spell of madness that cost us the game.” AFTER the disappointing home loss to Blaydon last week, a trip for the Blues’ to second place Ampthill looked daunting, especially after the Midlands’ club were coming off the back off impressive wins against Loughborough and Moseley.
Macc started the brighter and ultimately drew first blood, having shown strong resilience in defence in the opening minutes. A line break by lock Francis Barker led to an early but unsuccessful shot at goal for Lewis Barker.
The away team managed to peg Ampthill back in their own ‘22, before Aleki Lutui’s lineout throw flew over the flailing jumper straight into the hands of Ryan Parkinson who stormed over for the Blues.
Ampthill were struggling to win their own lineout, not to mention get out of their own half. It wasn’t until the 14th minute when the home side actually broke out through a sniping run by Northampton Saints loanee Alex Mitchell.
From there the hosts managed to turn the territory battle around and eventually Mitchell went over in the 27th minute after the forwards laid the ground work.
This seemed to lift Ampthill temporariliy, as more pressure brought a converted try for Karim Lynch.
Macclesfield heads did not drop though, and they enjoyed a strong spell before the referee brought the half to a close at 12-5.
Blues Director of Rugby Giles Heagerty must have hoped his side could replicate the momentum they had showed in the first 15 minutes of the game.
However, impressive flanker Joe Bercis broke through the defensive line immediately after the restart, and scored for the home side.
If Heagerty was disappointed to concede straight after the break, then he must have been fuming, five minutes later, to see Bercis again break tackles and provide one of the moments of the match when he threw a blind offload in the tackle to put second row
Macclesfield blues coach Giles Heagerty