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Spike Rainford wants to end tough week on a high for Cornish All Blacks

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 20, 2014

Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford

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A win over Ampthill and District at Polson Bridge this weekend would mean all the more to the Cornish All Blacks after a difficult week, according to head coach Spike Rainford.

Popular back-row forward Mike Rawlings was forced to retire at the age of 25 with a serious eye injury.

And Rainford also declared his intention to step down as head coach at the end of the National League Two South season.

But with relegation still mathematically possibility, and games in hand to play following recent postponements, the All Blacks must focus on beating third-placed Ampthill this weekend.

“It is a massive game, probably one of the biggest of the season,” said Rainford. “We have only played one game in the last four weeks so this is really important for us.

“It is all very well having games in hand, we at the bottom end of the table and we need to put some points on.”

Rainford admits Rawlings’ plight has saddened the squad but winning for him might drive them to success this weekend.

“It is a really sad thing for Mike, I really feel for him,” said Rainford. “He doesn’t hold anything back and he never gave anything less than 110 per cent. Unfortunately, he put his body on the line and paid the price for it.

“Hopefully, he will push through the coaching side of the things now and he will be as successful as he has been as a player.

“We will just take this game on in the same way we have the others. We want to put a good performance in and, if we do that, we will get the result.

“There has been a lot talked about at the club over the last few weeks but it is massively important we don’t lose focus on the game on Saturday.

“We will use anything we can as a tool to get the right result.”

Rainford was relieved to get his own news out of the way this week and hopes his side can improve on their 11th place position in the games he has left in charge.

“It should have been only about six or seven games left for me now but with the weather being like it has been, we are hovering around the nine or ten mark,” joked Rainford.

“I’ve been at the club a long time now and dedicated everything I could to it. I’m going anywhere but if I can’t give 100 per cent, I would rather step down and let someone else have a go.

“I will certainly enjoy the games I’ve got left and do my best to help the guys get the right results.”

The All Blacks will be without Ben Hilton on England Counties duty this weekend but still look strong.

Rainford said: “Kieron Lewitt comes back in after getting the all-clear after his concussion. We’ve got a good pack with strength in depth, so although Ben won’t be with us, there are other guys champing at the bit.”

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