Warren Spragg speaks to the Gazette ahead of Huddersfield at the Woodlands

By September 27, 20191st XV, Match Previews

The Blackpool Gazette‘s Sports Editor Andy Moore caught up with Warren Spragg to ask his views about the Wharfedale game and the different challenges likely to be posed by Huddersfield at the Woodlands on Saturday. Reproduced courtesy of the Gazette.


Fylde RFC have set an early benchmark as the most potent attacking side in National Two North and head coach Warren Spragg says it is no more than he expected.

Spragg’s third-placed side are the league’s top tryscorers with 15 from three games and they had wrapped up a bonus point by half-time in last weekend’s 32-19 win at Wharfedale.

But the Fylde boss says their attacking prowess had been carefully planned. Spragg explained: “I’d want us to be up there with the top scorers and I expected it with the squad we have assembled.

“That squad was in our own hands for the first time, and we’ve been able to recruit and retain the players we wanted. I have the squad I wanted and I’m happy to be completely accountable for it.

“We’ve put a squad together with an attacking mindset. Hal Chapman gives us real go-forward and we have good players in the wide positions to exploit the space and score tries. That is what the players with pace are under pressure to do and they have started the season really well.”

The fast start at Wharefdale delighted Spragg as Fylde took out their frustrations following the 24-24 derby draw with Preston Grasshoppers at the Woodlands.

He added: “The lads had made some mistakes in terms of how we managed that game but we could not have asked for a better response against a very good Wharfedale side.

“Getting off to a fast start shows me that we have got our mental preparation right. That was pleasing because you try to prepare as professionally as you can to come out of the blocks quickly and impose yourself on the game.

“Then to maintain that focus showed a real step forward for us. It was job done at half-time and the task then was to try to stay disciplined.

“I just tried to be honest at half-time (with his side 29-0 up) and told the players how much I had enjoyed watching them play for 40 minutes. There isn’t much else you can say except, ‘Let’s try to do more of that’. Wharfedale did get a few tries but never really got close to us.”

Spragg says his side face a very different challenge tomorrow at home to a Huddersfield side they failed to beat last season.

Promotion contenders last season, the Yorkshire side are still seeking their first win after drawing two of their opening three. “It’s a real surprise they haven’t won,” said Spragg. “They will be hurting and will fancy it after doing well against us last season.

“They lost Chris Johnson (the former Fylde half-back) at the end of last season and we know how influential he is, so maybe that has left a bit of a hole but the rest of the team is pretty stable. I can’t imagine it taking them too long to get a win.”

With the impressive Adam Lanigan again set to deputise for the injured Cam Crampton at scrum-half, Spragg has a fit squad apart from Nick Ashcroft.

The packman has an elbow problem and Spragg added: “Nick will miss the game but Oliver Parkinson is ready to come back. I’m happy with our options in the pack, and Matt Garrod and Jocob Conner did well last weekend.”

Spragg spoke to The Gazette between matches at the World Cup on Thursday and he has thoroughly enjoyed the tournament so far, though the refereeing has caused him some concerned.

“It has been really fantastic, though I felt sorry for Fiji losing to Uruguay after a short five-day turnaround, though it is enjoyable to see an upset. England have been a well-drilled as you would expect.

“But there needs to be a clampdown on the offsides and high tackles. The TMO is being well used but it’s a shame some big calls are being missed with head-high.”