Fylde RFC camp feeling good ahead of Sheffield Tigers trip

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Fylde RFC boss Chris Briers believes everyone at the Woodlands will go into the summer in a positive mood after their outstanding victory over high-flying Leeds Tykes.

That 18-15 success in their final home game of 2023/24 – only the second defeat all season for former leaders Leeds – looks set to prove decisive in the National Two North title race and gives fifth-placed Fylde a huge boost.

Fylde still have a final fixture to play at mid-table Sheffield Tigers on Saturday (3pm) but Briers is delighted to have ended a “frustrating” season on a high at the Woodlands.

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The joint-head coach told The Gazette: “I said when we lost at Leeds in October that I thought they were beatable and we would have a good shot at beating them if we got our defence right, and that proved to be the case.

Fylde RFC play their final game of the season at Sheffield Tigers on Saturday, a fortnight after beating Leeds Tykes Picture: Chris Farrow/Fylde RFCFylde RFC play their final game of the season at Sheffield Tigers on Saturday, a fortnight after beating Leeds Tykes Picture: Chris Farrow/Fylde RFC
Fylde RFC play their final game of the season at Sheffield Tigers on Saturday, a fortnight after beating Leeds Tykes Picture: Chris Farrow/Fylde RFC
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“It has given us a positive feeling about where we are and what we can go and do.

“We’ve always said we could beat anyone on our day and performances like that prove that’s true.

“It’s been a frustrating season with an unprecedented injury list, which has made getting a consistent side out a challenge.

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“It was nice to get that big win to give us the confidence that we are a very good side.”

Briers would love to take that momentum into the Tigers game after their two-week break.

Fylde have lost three of their last four on the road, in which they conceded more than 40 points per game on average.

Briers said: “It would be good to finish on a high away from home but it will be really challenging, mentally, after a week off.

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“It’s a strange time to have a blank weekend, a week before the season ends.

“The County Championship starts later this year, so wouldn’t have been impacted even if the season had overrun. I really don’t understand it.”

Last weekend was set aside for catch-up fixtures but only one was necessary, Rotherham winning at the Tigers to move two points clear at the top.

Victory at Billingham on Saturday would seal the title for the Titans and Briers said: “I think it’s highly unlikely Rotherham will slip up.

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“It’s there for them now against a Billingham side who aren’t really playing for anything but, if they get complacent, you never know.”

Briers has said farewell to fellow centre Scott Rawlings, who retired after the Leeds game having topped 150 Fylde appearances in two stints over the past decade.

“Scott is a big character in the side and you need to play alongside him to realise how much he contributes,” said Briers.

“He’s not just a ball-carrier but also a good distributor and organiser as well, and he is a cool head ... most of the time.”

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Briers and fellow team boss Alex Loney are very much part of the future at the Woodlands and both are under contract to continue in their combined role next season.

“We have been preparing since December,” Briers says.

“We’re getting things in place. There will be a few new faces to freshen it up and, if we get the rub of the green with players, we can finish higher next time.”