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Squad depth means Ilkley boss Rhys Morgan doesn't have to take risks
Coach Rhys Morgan is determined to make the most of the greater depth that he has in his Ilkley squad this season.
That was illustrated on Saturday when he left Tongan winger Tuli Makaafi out of his side for the 32-20 win over Heath so that he could rest a slight hamstring injury.
Morgan, whose side are now third in SSE Yorkshire Division One and face their toughest test yet at Scarborough on Saturday, brought Tom McLean in to replace Makaafi.
He said: “With the squad we have got there is no need to take any risks with injuries.
"If Tuli had played he could have aggravated the problem and been out for a longer period of time. It isn’t worth taking risks when we have players who can step in and do the job we require.”
Morgan knows that keeping all his squad happy won’t be easy, but it is a nice problem to have.
As he reflected on his side’s win over Heath, Morgan said: “You only have to look at the second team we fielded this week to see that we have competition all over the pitch.
“There is a buzz about the place at the moment. Last week, despite having 12 players nursing injuries, we had 35 players training.
"That is tremendous and shows how they are working hard to try and get into the team”
With Ilkley now third in the league - only the unbeaten duo of Huddersfield YMCA and Bridlington are in front of them – Morgan is happy with results too.
Since throwing away a 19-point lead to lose 31-29 in their opening game at YMCA, Ilkley have recorded three bonus-point wins.
Morgan is particularly pleased with the number of tries his side has scored. They got five against Heath, even though they were not at their best.
“We are finding our way to get over the whitewash regularly,” said Morgan. "However in placing greater emphasis on our attacking play it is inevitable that we are not as tight as we were in defence.
“The important thing is we are scoring tries and winning games. We have picked up the bonus point for scoring four tries in each of our four games.”
The result rather than the overall performance pleased Morgan against Heath.
He said: “I am pleased with the win, but there are still things we can work on.
“I was disappointed with the penalty try and one or two of the decisions that went against us, but at the end of the day we scored five tries, secured another our third successive bonus point win.
“We missed a few kicks and could easily have scored more than 50 points if we had been at our best. I am not going to complain though.
"Every win is valuable and we know we face a tough test at Scarborough.
“It is never and easy place to go, and this game will show us if we are a team that can challenge at the top end of the table.”
Like Ilkley, Scarborough have lost only once this season. They went down 23-18 to their unbeaten neighbours Bridlington on Saturday.