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Cornish All Blacks looking to maintain home form against Clifton

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 30, 2014

Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford

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Clifton have proven tricky opponents in recent seasons, but Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford has backed his side to retain their unbeaten home record this weekend.

The Launceston outfit suffered a 22-20 to the Bristol-based club when the sides met in National League Two South back in October.

The All Blacks are now looking to prevent two defeats against Hartpury College and Bishop’s Stortford turning into a losing streak.

Although January started well, they have been left frustrated by a postponement and those two away losses.

Rainford said: “We’ve played the top four teams in the league since just before Christmas. We came back into January with a great result against Canterbury, but Hartpury was always going to be a hard ask away.

“Ampthill would have been the ideal opportunity to keep our home form going, but that game didn’t happen and we had the week off.

“We did our best to prepare well for the game at Bishop’s Stortford, but it was a really hard day.

“We were happy to play and we just didn’t get the best of results, and it’s all back to ours for the Clifton game this weekend.

“To be honest, we have not got the greatest of records against Clifton, but it has always been a very close game. Earlier in the season, that was certainly the case.”

The 12th-placed All Blacks perhaps expected better from this season but Rainford feels there is still time to improve their standing.

He said: “It is in our hands, I feel we are as good as any team in the league, but we have to go out and take control. If we do that, we’ll be fine. There are still ten games left until the end of the season with 50 points to play for.

“We are well into the second half of the season and the meat of it. Another three or four weeks and it’s too late. We have to make things happen now.”

Skipper Ben Hilton is the only major absentee this weekend. Rainford said: “I’ve got all my front rows available for selection, so that gives us great strength in depth there as well as the back row.

“There is no Ben Hilton this week, as he is away on England Counties duty in France on Friday night. It is a massive bonus for the club to have someone representing England Counties again this year.

“We are still confident in the strength we have in the forwards, so we are looking pretty good. We have Karl Spears back. He came back from injury last week and scored within the first seven minutes. Liam Yeo is also available, so we have probably got two of the quickest wingers in the league.”

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