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York RUFC steeled for top two teams
BACK-TO-BACK home games against promotion favourites Huddersfield YMCA and Driffield are poised to test York RUFC’s nine-match unbeaten run.
Second-placed YMCA are the visitors to Clifton Park tomorrow, with leaders Driffield due in the Minster city the following weekend.
Despite a fortnight sidelined by wintry weather, York coach Sean Bass believes his squad are ready for the challenge.
“We’ve been hammering them in training for the last two weeks,” said Bass. “We really hit them hard and they have responded well.
“The way the lads have pulled together in training has been fantastic – not just the bare 18 in the first team, but everyone.
“There’s been no whinging and whining and pretty much the whole squad have been there.
“We’ve had four good sessions and we’ve got to take that into this game tomorrow, and recapture the form that we’ve been showing against a really good side.
“Huddersfield YMCA are a decent side and doing well, but we are at home so we’ve got to fancy our chances.”
He added: “Only time will tell if the two-week break has any effect. We are hoping the fitness is there. Match fitness is completely different to drills, but we’ve done as much as we can.
“Whatever happens, we know that everyone is in the same boat.”
A run of nine games unbeaten in Yorkshire Two and the Yorkshire Shield has turned the Clifton Park club’s season around.
With York in fifth place in the table, Bass is keen to see how his side measures up against the breakaway top two.
He said: “It is massive for us and will show how far we have come.
“We have been beaten by both of those sides away from home and, looking at Huddersfield first, we owe them one.
“We want to get into them early and stop them playing, and put a dampener on their promotion chances.”
York’s recent run of form gives Bass the luxury of fielding experienced second row pair Rich Roberts and Andy Kay in the second team, with Sam Thorpe preferred against Huddersfield’s mighty pack.
“A couple of players have missed out that could possibly have been in,” he said.
“Rich Roberts is looking to get back in and we’ve put Andy Kay in the seconds, which is hard because he’s been playing well.
“But Sam Thorpe has been banging on the door and he deserves a shot against a big pack.”
Full-back Alex Nixon is still out with a hamstring injury, although Bass is hoping he will return in the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, Yorkshire Three strugglers York RI host fourth-placed Thornensians at New Lane tomorrow.