RUGBY: ‘Focus on the match, not the table’ urges Bann coach

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Banbridge RFC Head Coach Daniel Soper wants his players’ focus to remain unflinching.

They’ve lost two of their last three causing some fears that the long-term league leaders could be about to choke.

But the title is still well within their reach - they’re joint top - and they face the bottom two sides in their next two fixtures.

With three games left to secure top spot and promotion to Division 1B, that could be seen as an ideal situation.

However, with Thomond and Galway Corinthians both fighting to stave off relegation, Soper says it won’t be that straight forward.

This Saturday, it’s second bottom Thomond that Bann host at Rifle Park (kick-off 2.30pm) and the boss is urging calm in order to glean a maximum return.

“It’s just another game of rugby,” he told the LEADER, “and we need to focus on the match rather than worrying about the table or anything else that we can’t control.

“Both Thomond and Corinthians will be fighting hard to avoid finishing bottom and escape automatic relegation.

“At the same time, they’re in the bottom two for a reason and that’s because they haven’t been playing particularly well. We need to be going into these games looking to win them and looking for bonus points.

“It’s all going to be crucial at this stage of the season so we have to get as many points as possible.”

Bann, of course, will be looking to bounce back from their 14-7 loss in Nenagh. Soper says that his squad’s optimism has remained intact since that game - and why not? They haven’t lose two league games on the trot all season.

On paper, leaders Naas have a harder fixture this weekend as they travel to third-placed UCC who are just four points behind the top two.

“That won’t be easy for them but we can’t afford to worry about anybody else,” insisted Soper. “We have to get our own house in order and try to win our remaining games. If we do that, the league table won’t tell too many lies.”

Bann’s squad for this weekend’s game will be the same one that lost out to Nenagh with the fortnight in between having cleared up any knocks.