Following an eight-point victory over Moseley at Billesley Common on Saturday, Director of Rugby, Mike Rayer was left feeling confident of a top six finish at the end of the season with the top four still in sight.

The Blues got 2015 off to a bright start last weekend, running in three tries against the Midlanders to make it an impressive total 17 from their last four matches and Rayer is looking for another solid performance this Saturday against Doncaster.

“The mood has been great since we got on track after the Cornish Pirates and with every win we get a little bit more confident,” he said. “I think we emphasised going into the Moseley game that it was a great performance against Bristol and our intensity levels were way up there and we were able to cause some real problems. 

“Going to Moseley was a big challenge and I think the players really applied themselves and we had an excellent start which gave us a little bit of confidence to kick on. We left one, if not two tries out there which should have made it a bit more comfortable but Moseley’s a notoriously difficult place to go, particularly on that day with the rain, and we had a lot of decisions go against us but we took it in our stride and got ourselves a hard earned four points.”

The win over Moseley followed a superb display against Bristol on Boxing Day as well as two British & Irish Cup wins over Cross Keys and Cornish Pirates.

“The teams’ improvement is down to time and practice really,” Rayer continued. “We had a lot of changes over the summer and it was always going to take us a lot of time. We’ve had a few painful afternoons but I like to think we’ve learnt from them and I think that was our first clean sheet in terms of tries scored against us so it was really pleasing from that aspect. 

“Part of the last few weeks has been about having players in form and that makes a huge difference and obviously confidence comes off the back of that. Our half-backs were excellent but as much as anything, I think our front row this year has been terrific and we haven’t been able to say that for a long time. It gives us a really have a good  platform to play off so long let that continue. We still need to work on all areas of our game but I think we really want to sharpen up our finishing. I think we’re creating chances, which is great, we just need to be a bit more clinical on what we’re doing. 

“In terms of discipline, I think some of the penalties in the match were fully justified and in many ways we probably should have had a sin bin. If that had happened then maybe we wouldn’t have given so many penalties away. We got penalised for things that perhaps they didn’t but that’s just the frustration that you have to deal with on the day. To an extent we were pretty patient and got on with it but I think it was more the fact that we started the game so well and obviously Darryl’s try was a real big moment for us and took us two scores clear. We kept giving penalties away right up until the end of the game so all you can do is address that and hopefully the guys learn from that week on week as most certainly they won’t get away with that on any other given day.

Looking ahead to the visit of Doncaster Knights this weekend, Rayer said: “We are aware of Doncaster, their strengths and what they bring to a game having played them twice already this season. Doncaster haven’t won a game in six outings in the league but they did a clean sweep in the British and Irish Cup so obviously there’s a Jeckyll and Hyde aspect to their performances. They’ve got a tenacious set of half backs as well as one of the most in-form fullbacks in the league who has caused us plenty of problems in the two previous games. They’ve got a good team, there’s no two ways about that and they’ll be desperate for the win so we’ve got to make sure we’re as desperate as they are to get the result.

“We won’t be doing anything too different, it’s just about making sure our set piece is in good order, our accuracy is right and hopefully we’ll come up with a couple of different patterns in play to surprise them.
“The game this Saturday is also about performing in front of our fans. With the exception of the dip against Rotherham, our form at Goldington Road has been excellent. We haven’t won every game but we have gradually got better and better and hopefully we can keep on our upward curve, climb into the top half and hopefully knock on the door of the top four.”



Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road