The first match after the Christmas break is always a challenge so last week’s 40-7 victory against as tough a side as 4th placed Sheffield Tigers should have been hugely pleasing for all at Caldy. However not everyone seemed as delighted in the Wirral side’s 16th consecutive win.
Giant second row Tom Sanders, who normally goes by the nickname of ‘Crouchy’ was re-christened by his teammates as the ‘Grinch,’ for his more dour assessment of last week’s victory against the team from Dore Moor.
“We didn’t execute the way we had planned” said Sanders “and in a lot of aspects of our play we were sloppy. We leaked a try at the end which seems to have become a habit this season and if we don’t tighten up we are going to get caught out. We must improve our performance for this week’s home match against Loughborough Students”.
This week’s visitors to Paton Field overtook Sheffield Tigers to move into 4th place after a thumping 64-31 victory against Chester. Loughborough Students, who have the benefit of world class facilities and infrastructure together with specialist coaching and training regimes, mimic Premiership sides in organisation and preparation. They survived seven consecutive seasons in National 1 before being relegated last season alongside Caldy.
Playing a fast-paced brand of rugby, the Midlands side has so far racked up 529 points this season, which is the second highest in the league. Once they establish a rhythm, opponents are often overwhelmed by their pace and athleticism. On their way to the top end of the table they have picked up some notable scalps with wins over Wharfedale and Sedgley Park in addition to last week’s big win over Chester.
Caldy Head Coach is an admirer of their abilities.
“They completely smashed us in the January fixture last year when both sides were in National 1 and earlier this season, we just squeaked the win over them.” said Cairns “The Students are probably the most athletic and well-conditioned team outside the international and elite game. If there is a team of Supermen anywhere in English rugby it is the Students. This week, our job as a coaching group has been to give our squad enough Kryptonite to try and stop the Students scoring at Paton Field. It is going to be a big ask.”
Cairns was hopeful that the Wirral public would come out in force to support Caldy on Saturday.
“We had a reasonable enough crowd for our match last week against the Tigers, but we do need more people and more noise to give our squad the maximum advantage at Paton Field. It makes a huge difference to the players and we really need the Wirral public’s support to keep this winning run going in the second half of the season.”
Matt Cairns has selected the following squad for the match against Loughborough Students
1. John Whittaker, 2. Ted Stagg, 3 Derek Salisbury, 4. Martin Gerrard, 5. Tom Sanders, 6. Harrison Crowe, 7. Adam Aigbokhae, 8. JJ Dickinson 9. Cameron Davies, 10. Lewis Barker, 11. Ben Jones, 12. Mike Barlow, 13. Gavin Roberts, 14. Nick Royle, 15. Rhys Hayes 16. Jack Collister, 17. Callum Bennett, 18. Nyle Davidson, 19. Jack Parker, 20. Ollie Hearn
The match kicks off at Caldy’s Paton Field at 2.15 p.m.