Rugby union round-up: Tigers looking to seal promotion against Burnage
Sheffield Tigers closed in on the National League Three North title with an impressive 64-19 victory over relegation-threatened Stockport.
The big win was the Tigers’ 20th of the season so far, leaving them 15 points clear at the top of the table.
One more league win would see the Tigers promoted, as their points scored difference leaves them mathematically untouchable.
Sheffield RUFC did not have a match to play at the weekend as only postponed games were scheduled to be played.
A victory for second-placed Wirral has, however, decreased RUFC’s chances of securing the league play-off spot; the Abbeydale-based side sit 13 points adrift in third with only four games in the season remaining.
Sheffield will be hoping to close the gap with a win against second-from-bottom Birkenhead Park, when they host them on Saturday.
Tigers play their next game against Burnage, and a win could see the Tigers promoted with games spare. Thiu Barnard, of Tigers, said: “We did not play amazingly in the first half and the score was 24-19 at half time.
“We were playing into a gale-force wind which made it really tough but we won comfortably in the end and that is because we played much better in the second half.
“At the weekend we were a bit nervous because we know we are so close to winning it all.
“But we are just not quite there and I think that caught up with us in the first half.
“Then at half time I told the boys to wake up and it changed the whole game.
“On Saturday we are going with the strongest squad available.
“There are four or five guys unavailable due to holidays and stag-dos but they did not play this weekend either, so we should be fine.”
Tigers are facing a congested fixture list; they play Burnage on Saturday, then Sheffield RUFC on Wednesday night in the Yorkshire Cup semi-final before playing Hull on the Saturday after.
“My main focus, though, is just taking it one game at a time and winning this weekend,” Barnard added.
“Although Burnage are bottom of the table, we are approaching the game as though we are playing a top side.
“We will also be playing on a 4G pitch which will be difficult to adapt to. However if it is going to suit anyone, it is probably going to suit us as it will be dry and fast.
“We are aiming to approach the game as if it were a top of the table clash in order to get the job done.”