Fylde RFC head coach Warren Spragg hopes an England World Cup triumph will make tomorrow’s top-of-the table blockbuster between his side and hosts Caldy even more of a rip-roaring occasion.
National Two North’s last unbeaten clubs meet on the Wirral, Fylde having moved four points clear at the top with their 42-17 win over Chester last weekend, when Caldy’s clash with Sedgley Park was rained off.
But Spragg does not expect Caldy’s weekend off to have any bearing tomorrow – though events in Japan that morning just might.
He told The Gazette: “Everyone will be pumped up after the World Cup final, hopefully all celebrating an England win and ripping in for a full-blooded game.”
Last weekend’s win saw Fylde replace Caldy at the summit for the first time since the opening week of the season but Spragg stressed the formidable task confronting his side.
He added: “Last year we went to Hull Ionians as league leaders, lost the game and never really recovered, so hopefully history won’t repeat itself.
“I’d rather have the points on the table than be trying to catch up, especially as Caldy won’t play the postponed game until next year.
“But they are very good. Look at their results and watch any of their performances and you will see they are a complete side.
“They have a strong, physical pack and are skilful in the backs. It is going to be an extremely hard game, and if we come away with any sort of result, I will be delighted.”
His primary concern is that Fylde give as good an account of themselves as they can and that means improving on last weekend’s performance.
It’s a sign of the standards set at Fylde that the coach wasn’t entirely happy with last weekend’s six-try victory.
He said: “We did get a bit sloppy. We lost Dave Fairbrother to a yellow card and we weren’t great for the 10 minutes either side of half-time, but we did regain control. We can be much better offensively but I’m pleased with the result.
“When we play with real attacking intent and move the ball into space I would expect us to score tries. But if our attitude isn’t right and we start to play conservatively we won’t be as prolific.”
What did satisfy Spragg was his team’s ability to regroup and close out the game after an extended stoppage while a Chester player was treated for a head injury.
However, he added: “Our medical team took the lead and made our equipment available. It was credit to them but it did highlight an issue in the game.”
One of Fylde’s six tries was scored by debutant winger Tom Roebuck, the first Sale Sharks player to appear for Fylde this season on a dual-registration agreement. Another, full-back Joe Carpenter, was on the bench.
Fylde capitalised considerably on their relationship with the Sale club last season and Spragg said: “The Premiership teams have only played a couple of games and there have not been too many players going out so far.
“But this was a chance for Tom to come and play, and there may be a few more in the coming weeks – hopefully Joe could be involved again this weekend.
“Tom has a lot of potential and it’s a stepping stone for players like him to play at such a competitive level as ours.
“It puts pressure on players here who are already playing pretty well to keep on top of their game and it keeps the competition feisty.
“It certainly prevents any complacency coming in, though we do have a really good attitude within our squad.”
Fylde will again be without packman Matt Garrod, who needs a knee operation and is unlikely to play again in 2019.