Key les­son for Blues is en­joy game

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

RUGBY UNION SHELDAN KEAY

MAC­CLES­FIELD RUFC head coach Giles Hea­gerty has re­vealed some of the lessons he has learnt from his side’s dis­ap­point­ing sea­son in Na­tional League 1.

The Blues will be play­ing in Na­tional League 2 next year af­ter suf­fer­ing rel­e­ga­tion, and Hearg­erty has lifted the lid on some of the ob­ser­va­tions he has made.

“The first les­son is that the old mantra ‘no plan sur­vives the first con­tact’ has been proven true this year,” he said.

“All the plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion we did pre-sea­son went out the win­dow when the first ball was kicked.

“Na­tional 1 is a re­lent­less league, and you sim­ply can’t leg­is­late for in­jury, and as hard as you might try, you strug­gle to leg­is­late for form, the bounce of the ball and ques­tion­able of­fi­ci­at­ing de­ci­sions.

“The sec­ond les­son is prob­a­bly as a group, and I put my­self firmly at the front of that queue, you’ve got to learn to re­lax and en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I’ll be the first to ad­mit that when we got rel­e­gated from Na­tional 1 two years ago, win­ning the league be­came some­thing of an ob­ses­sion, both for me and for the group.

“I think there are very few play­ers who were in­volved in that cam­paign who could put their hands on their hearts and say they en­joyed their rugby and the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“There was so much pres­sure for us to win, both in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally, that it sucked the en­joy­ment out of what should re­ally have been a very sat­is­fy­ing and plea­sur­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

“This year we went into the cam­paign a lit­tle more cir­cum­spect, but as the re­sults started to go against us, we all started to tense up a lit­tle and that in­evitably im­pacted on our per­for­mance; and once again the en­joy­ment of the game started to evap­o­rate.

“Only when it be­came fairly clear we were go­ing to get rel­e­gated did we start to re­lax and play some of our best rugby.

“The up­shot of this les­son is that we need to make sure we en­joy our rugby next sea­son. Ul­ti­mately it’s a hobby, and there’s no point forc­ing play­ers to do some­thing they don’t en­joy do­ing.”

‘Only when it be­came clear we were go­ing to be rel­e­gated did we start to re­lax’

Do­minic Sal­ter

Blues coach Giles Hea­gerty

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