My much-improved side can topple Sandal: Barnard

Sheffield Tigers head coach Thiu Barnard believes the side can continue to push up the league and will take confidence into their toughest test of the season so far, away against first placed Sandal, after an emphatic 34-15 away win at Lymm last weekend.

The impressive victory was the Sheffield side’s fourth consecutive win, which has pushed them up to third in National Three North division on 48 points with just Sale and Sandal above them.

Barnard, 30, took many positives from the game - especially the clinical finishing over the try line. But he has stressed that Sandal will be the most difficult game of the season to date.

“Lymm is always a very tough place to go and play but the whole side were incredibly hungry for the win and everybody improved again from last week,” explained the South African coach.

“They were a very physical side but we were very patient in attack and slowly pushed through and scored some very good tries.

“It was very pleasing to see the side be more clinical with the finishing - it was something stressed in the week and this has to be followed through against Sandal.

“Sandal aren’t top of the table for no reason and we have to show more discipline then we did against them last time. We have to make sure we are winning ever collision and we have to play brilliantly as a team to beat them.”

Sandal beat Tigers 34-7 last time out but Barnard added: “We have improved and I am confident that if we play well we can get the victory.”

“They are very good in attack and have a very strong, quick set of backs,” explained the Port Elizabeth born coach.

“This time round we will not be having a repeat performance. The team has come on a great deal and I am confident that if we play well we can get the victory.”

Saturday’s fixture will be the last before Christmas and Barnard has urged the team to take the momentum from their current form into the New Year.

“We can’t relax and be slack over the break. We are finally starting to really gel as a side and if we continue in this form we could look to push up to second or maybe even eye the title – but it’s always one game at a time.”