Coach blasts punishing league schedule

Fylde coach - Mark Nelson
Fylde coach - Mark Nelson
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Fylde rugby club coach Mark Nelson has accused league fixture-planners as treating players ‘like meat’.

Speaking before tomorrow’s home clash with Tynedale in National League One, Nelson said the fixture schedule was ‘relentless’ and was making too many physical demands on part-time players.

He said: “It’s only six matches into the season, and we have already experienced serious injuries – they have to be ready to get up and go every week.

“We are expecting the same players to keep performing.

“We play 16 matches before Christmas before we get a break – Christmas Day – and we are treating players like meat with the amount of games we are expecting them to play in a season.

“National League One is no less physical than the Championship and at some levels, the Premiership, where the players are full-time – we expect players at our level, who are part-time, to go through this relentless schedule and then go to work to earn their living on Monday morning.

“Even Doncaster Knights, the league leaders, were ringing around recently, looking around for prop forwards because of injuries and they operate on a phenomenal budget.

“It is not a just a problem at Fylde, players picking up injuries, but at other clubs and it has been highlighted at Richmond and Tynedale as well.

“It is a serious situation that needs addressing.

“It is something that we will have to live with this season as it is the same for every club.”

Fylde will be without flanker Joe Robinson tomorrow, who has a shoulder injury.

The club don’t know how long he will be out until the results of a scan are revealed.

Nelson delays selection until as late as possible as he weighs up all the options available to him.

He said: “There are a few areas where I have yet to make my mind up, and the fact that the second XV are at home as well on Saturday gives me extra options.

“The scrum-half position is one that I have yet to decide on.”

A trio of number nines - Tom Webb, Jason Dorrington and Martin Wallwork – have been named in the squad for the Tynedale match.

Scott Barrow returns to contention after missing last Saturday’s reverse at the hands of Loughborough Students.

Winger Ben Rath is likely to have another run-out in the second XV tomorrow, though he is set to figure on Saturday week in the trip to Esher.

Nelson said: “It is good for the club that the second team are winning matches this season, but it is a big step-up from that level to National League One.”

Backs: Viney, Barrow, C and S Briers, Brennand, Spragg, Johnson, Dorrington, Webb, Wallwork. Forwards: Birchall, Burtonwood, Rylance, Altham, Giffiths, Lewis, Gore, Arnold, McGinnis, Beaumont, Stewart, Maher.

Kick-off 3pm.