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Canterbury RFC head coach Andy Pratt preparing for National 2 South clash with leaders Hartpury College with promotion play-off hanging in balance

By Alex Hoad
Looking up: Canterbury head coach Andy Pratt
Looking up: Canterbury head coach Andy Pratt

Canterbury RFC are preparing for arguably the biggest weekend in the club’s history as their National 2 South promotion push reaches its defining fortnight.

The city club set-up two huge games against the sides battling with them at the top of the table with a 29-13 win at London Irish Amateur on Saturday.

Head coach Andy Pratt has cooled talk of Canterbury winning the title, even if they beat leaders Hartpury College at Merton Lane on Saturday (3pm) but says the destiny of the sole promotion play-off spot for finishing second is in their hands.

Victory over the Gloucestershire side would close a seven-point gap between the sides, while going into the game Canterbury have a two-point cushion over third-placed Ampthill, whom they visit the following weekend.

Both their rivals have a game in hand on Canterbury and Pratt said: “Saturday is an important game but all of our last four games are going to be important.

“I was pleased we got the momentum back in time for these games by winning our last two away from home.”

Members can bring a friend for free and there are hopes a crowd of 1,000-plus could pack Merton Lane.

Pratt added: “Come down, bring a friend, bring your mother-in-law, bring your neighbours – we want a fantastic atmosphere.”

Hartpury edged Canterbury 39-36 in November and Pratt admitted: “They have been favourites all year. With the set-up they have got and the financial resources, they are the best equipped to step up to National 1 and do well.

“With them having a game in hand, even if we manage to beat them, I expect them to be champions. The title is out of our hands but the play-off place is down to us. It would be possible for us to get the play-off place even if we lose on Saturday but we’d have to win all our remaining games.”

Canterbury host a clash between Kent and Devon in the National under-20 competition on Sunday (2.30pm).

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