- Nottingham aim to keep play-off hopes alive
- We have to win – Delaney
Photo: RFU Archive
With two losses, a win and a draw in the play-off stages, Nottingham Rugby face a showdown against Doncaster Knight in Round 5 in a game that could see their promotion hopes kept alive, should they secure a bonus point win.
In this month’s Coaches Close-up, Glenn Delaney talks to RFU.com about his side’s belief ahead of the crunch battle, and how he thinks the Championship has developed over the past three years.
Nottingham have had mixed results in the play-offs. What do you put that down to and is it frustrating to see the team come so close but just failing to close the game out?
The game against London Welsh was the turning point for us. We were in a strong position throughout the game and then a few errors cost us – Welsh capitalised and we found ourselves on the back foot when they scored two tries from turnover ball. The performance against Bristol last week was much stronger and the players were disappointed to have not come away with the win. We know that a bonus point win next week against Doncaster is a must if we are to have a realistic chance of pushing through to the semi-final stage.
Nottingham have to win their next two games and hope London Welsh or Bristol Rugby lose. Is there still belief that this team can make the semi-finals?
Yes, and we know what we have to do so in some ways, it’s like a cup final – we have to win – so we can just focus entirely on that game and get mentally and physically prepared. We beat them at our place a few weeks back so if we can put in another big performance like that, we’ll still be in contention come the final round of the play-offs. The players have a few days off this week and then will come back fresh ready for the challenge ahead.
How important are the senior players like Craig Hammond, David Jackson and Neil Fowkes to lead Nottingham through the challenge ahead?
Those guys and the other senior members are really important in steering the team through a challenge like the one ahead, not only because of their experience at the club but in supporting the younger players. They’ll be crucial in helping to steer the team through the next few games and hopefully beyond.
You’ve been involved with Nottingham throughout their three years in the RFU Championship. How have you seen the competition develop over that time?
The standard has definitely stepped-up this season – you only need to look at how close the league has been this year. I can’t remember the last time, if ever,Nottingham had two draws in a season. It’s very competitive and any team can beat anyone on their day, which makes it an exciting competition to be involved in.