Head coach Andy Pratt warns National 2 South promotion chasers Canterbury face tough task at Launceston
Andy Pratt says Canterbury “have a target on their back” as they begin the second half of their National 2 South season with arguably their hardest game.
Weather permitting, the city club are due to visit Cornwall to take on Launceston on Saturday (2.30pm), seeking to consolidate the promotion play-off place they took-over with a superb home win over Cambridge on December 21.
Launceston are ninth and lost 33-25 at Merton Lane in September, however, they have won all seven home games this season and Canterbury have never won in Cornwall, leading Pratt to warn it could be the hardest of their 14 remaining fixtures.
The head coach said: “Make no mistake, this is tough. It’s going to be a hard game and the boys know it. They know we can’t just stroll down there and get a win.
“Of course we want to win but it’s one of the hardest places you can go in this league, they’re unbeaten at home, we’ve never won in Cornwall and going down there on January 4 is about as tough as it gets.
“They are similar to us in that they have a good home record. They know how to win games. We also have to deal with the fact that due to the lofty heights we find ourselves in (second place), we have a target on our backs.”
Runaway leaders Hartpury have already fallen at Launceston and with two points separating Canterbury from Cambridge in fourth, Pratt insisted: “I’m not going to even think about promotion until March or April. We’ll see where we are then. We’ll take it a game at a time.”
With the Launceston pitch lying just metres from the banks of the River Tamar and wet weather predicted this week, the game could be in jeopardy, however, Pratt said: “We don’t even want to think about the possibility that it might be off.
“We want to put all our focus on preparing as if the game will be on.”
Back row Rob Lennox (knee) will not be available but Pratt hopes that tests on Ricky Mackintosh’s ankle provide good news.
Ben Massey has been cleared to play, despite suffering a fractured eye socket just three weeks ago and Chris Hinkins (shoulder) is back, although teenage wing Connor Wallace-Sims is unavailable for the clash due to a pre-arranged trip.
The club will drive from Canterbury to Taunton on Friday night before completing the journey on Saturday morning.
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