No change of approach from coach Rhys Morgan as Ilkley chase promotion

Ilkley Gazette: Head of rugby Rhys Morgan. Picture: ruggerpix.com Head of rugby Rhys Morgan. Picture: ruggerpix.com

Ilkley’s head of rugby Rhys Morgan is resisting the temptation to rotate his squad as their Yorkshire Division One promotion campaign reaches its climax.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Bridlington, Morgan made it clear that he will continue to pick his strongest line up.

“I know the players have had a demanding season but there is always a danger with tinkering with the side,” said Morgan.

“It would be nice to give more game time to the players who have been sat on the bench, but at the same time I am aware we are on a great run and keeping the team intact has been key to that.

“We have to retain our structure, patterns of play and defensive organisation and the continuity we have been able to have for much of the season has really helped.”

It was an indication of Morgan’s thinking that he fielded his strongest available side for last Saturday’s 14-0 Yorkshire Shield semi-final win over West Leeds.

The only absentees were the unavailable forward duo of Pete Small and Ollie Renton. Both are set to return against Bridlington.

Although Ilkley failed to pile up the points as many of their supporters hoped against West Leeds, Morgan was happy with the perform-ance.

“West Leeds made it difficult for us. They battled all the way in much the same style of play that I expect to see from Bridlington,” said Morgan.

“It was a good test and though we dropped a few passes and missed a few tries, I was happier with the performance than I was in the big league wins over Pontefract and Acklam.

“In those games we were going off piste. Players were doing their own thing whereas the team stuck to its game plan this time.

“We retained our structure and our defence was as tight as ever. It was good that we stuck to the script.”

Ilkley, who have now re-arranged their outstanding home fixture with York for Saturday April 19, are currently trying to mobilise support for the potential title decider at Dinnington on Saturday week.

The club is organising a coach for supporters so that the team have strong backing at a venue where Ilkley have often found the going tough. “That will be a big boost for the lads,” added Morgan.

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