Tigers have been putting their focus on tightening things up

Josh Redfern of Sheffield Tigers
Josh Redfern of Sheffield Tigers

After last weekend’s opening day defeat to Preston Grasshoppers at Dore Moor, Sheffield Tigers have focused on tightening up at the back in training as they attempt to set the record straight when they face Macclesfield this Saturday.

Tigers fell to 16-3 defeat to Preston in the first game of the new National 2 North season, after failing to break down a stubborn Hoppers defence which remained resilient despite Tigers’ spirited fight back in the final quarter of the contest.

Sheffield Tigers 1st XV prop Ed Simmons powers forward vs Preston Grasshoppers

Sheffield Tigers 1st XV prop Ed Simmons powers forward vs Preston Grasshoppers

David Bradford, who coach Dan Richmond named as Tigers new captain, led them out for the first time on Saturday and says a lot of focus following that opener has been on tightening up on various aspects of their game ahead of the visit of Macclesfield.

Macclesfield, who come into the new season after being relegated last season, got their season off to a winning start with a 30-19 bonus-point victory over Darlington Mowden Park at Priory Park.

“I thought Preston played to their strengths and adapted well to the start-stop nature of Saturday’s game.” Bradford said, “Their try early in the second half should have been dealt with better, and from then on we were always chasing the game.

“We were camped in their half for long periods of the second half and if we could have converted those forwards drives earlier, then we could have pushed on for a result.

“We’ve looked closely at the video of the Preston game and there were a lot of positives but this week’s training has been all about making things right and just tightening things up. We need to avoid getting ourselves in the same position where we are having to chase the game like last week.”

As well as hosting their second game of the new season, Tigers will also be holding a two-day rugby and real-ale festival over the weekend to celebrate the start of the new season.

A number of veterans teams including Dronfield, Market Rasen, Wath, Barnsley and Derby Barbarians amongst others will converge on Dore Moor for a tournament that will take place all afternoon. Tickets are still available for the inaugural two-day event at just £5.

Whilst the Tigers have been focusing on toughening up defensively going into their second game, Sheffield RUFC will be looking for more penetration in their attack going into their away game at Driffield. Ben Wade, Sheffield’s Director of Rugby, watched as his team narrowly lost 18-13 to Pocklington – a game Sheffield were leading 6-0 at the half-time interval.

The Sheffield team had a number of new faces in their line-up for the fixture and Wade believes there are still some ‘teething issues’ to sort out over the coming weeks particularly in the forwards positions.

Driffield, who were promoted to the Northern Division - North 1 East last season, also got off to a losing start with a 33-10 defeat at Rochdale last weekend.

“We were disappointing against Pocklington at the weekend.” Wade said, “We had such a strong pre-season and we were below par and we lacked in the forwards throughout the game.

“In the last 10 minutes we were quite good, but at that point it was too late. Pocklington were very good and opened us up and got a couple of tries, but on the whole the defence was great.

“Rob Sturman was fantastic as well as a few others, the scrums and the line-outs were ok but we just didn’t create anything. We looked a strong side when we clicked. I would rather have this problem now though and sort out the teething troubles now rather than later.”