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Neil Bayliss eyes his first win as Cornish All Blacks’ director of rugby

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

Cornish All Blacks acting director of rugby Neil Bayliss

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Neil Bayliss’ challenging start to life as acting director of rugby at the Cornish All Blacks continues with a re-arranged trip to Cambridge this weekend.

The Launceston club were due to play the game on February 8, but the original journey to Volak Park was thwarted by the bad winter weather.

The upshot for Bayliss is that his men have been able to do even more preparation work on their opponents this weekend, having also beaten Cambridge 23-17 at Polson Bridge in October.

Bayliss said: “We’ve done quite a lot of analysis on them because the original game was called off, as well playing them in October.

“We struggled against them in the scrum at our place but our pack has changed quite a bit since then and has been bolstered up.

“We have trained well this week. We know they have good a good scrum so have had Plymouth Albion down for live scrum and line-out work in the week.

“It was a really good session for both sides and it will do us the world of good against Cambridge with their pack being strong. Their back three are also pretty sharp and we will play to keep it away from them. We are going up there for points. We will have the right frame of mind.”

Bayliss was pleased with his side’s mental approach to his first game in charge last weekend. The All Blacks 28-20 to Chinnor last weekend, robbing them of even a losing bonus point for their efforts.

That leaves them third from bottom in the last of the relegation places in National League Two South. Bayliss said: “It has definitely been a sharp learning curve for me and I’m in at the deep end. With the first one being an away game as well, it was never going to be easy.

“It was very disappointing to go away from home and not get anything again. There were a few missed opportunities from us in the red zone, a few individual errors and there were a few penalties that could have gone either way.

“If those things had been a little bit different, we could have had a different outcome on Saturday.

“But that has been typical of our season away from home. We are playing well and not picking up anything on the road – picking up bonus points is crucial in the league this year.

“To be honest, we are not really looking at the league table and we haven’t really talked about it. Only the top-three teams are safe in our league, it is that tight this season. It’s unheard of, really.

“I asked the boys for a response on Saturday and the way we performed from the previous week creates a good platform. It was a good positive performance, particularly in the first half.”

Bayliss expects to maintained a settled side this weekend with only minor changes expected, depending on late fitness updates from players carrying knocks.

He said: “Squad-wise we’re not looking too bad. We picked up a couple of knocks.

“Ryan Westren has a sore back but nothing serious. We are going to be pretty much unchanged, depending on a couple of fitness tests.”

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