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Cornish All Blacks relieved to begin 2014 with home fixture

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 03, 2014

By Bill Sobey

Cornish All Blacks relieved to begin 2014 with home fixture

Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford

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Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford wants to use their timely home fixture against Canterbury to their advantage and start 2014 with a National League Two South victory this weekend.

The Launceston men adapted their training schedule to accommodate the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

And they now hope the benefit of being at home will minimise disruption to their own form.

Second-placed Canterbury will travel nearly 300 miles to Polson Bridge from Kent and Rainford wants his men to hit the visitors hard from the start of the game.

He said: “The time of year is a factor. The way Christmas and New Year fell, we lost two Tuesday training sessions so we’ve had to make sure we had a good long session on Thursday night, so that we’re in full form.

“Like everyone else, they’ve had their problems travelling this season. They have won more away games than we have but it will be a big old trip down for them and we’re hoping it will play in our favour.

“We have been starting games a lot quicker and better lately and I think, if we can get out of the blocks early, it becomes very difficult after travelling that distance.

“We’ve had that away ourselves, as soon as you’ve conceded a couple of scores, it quickly becomes quite tough. If we can do that to them, I think we’re on to a winner.

“And if we can put in another performance like we have all season at home, I’m pretty confident we can come out with the points that we want.”

Launceston pushed Canterbury close in the reverse fixture in September before going down 33-25. Rainford said: “I’m expecting pretty much the same as when we visited them up there. There was one score in it at the end up there despite the fact we died off a little bit.”

The All Blacks were also unable to secure a win in their last fixture, their derby day against Redruth, and they are eager to bounce back from that 18-8 defeat.

However, Rainford hopes they can resume the form that saw them win six games from a possible seven in November and December following their rest over Christmas.

He said: “The Redruth game is done with now. I thought we controlled the game in the first half but gifted them the game in the second half. It is always a hard place to play once they get their noses in front.

“A rest at Christmas does everyone some good. We had a few carrying knocks and they have had chance to recover.”

The All Blacks have made two changes for this weekend. Prop Sisa Naqasima comes in for Bruce Pow while Richard Friend replaces Adam Collings at scrum-half.

Cornish All Blacks: Lewitt; Kneebone, Westren, Webber, Webb; S Chapman; Friend; Mathias, Salter, Naqasima; Jenkins, Hilton (capt); Tripcony, M Rawlings, BJ Chapman. Replacements: Bulut, Hurdwell, L Duke, Courtier, Collings.

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