All Blacks urged to make history
Boss Bryan Smallman has called on Bridgnorth to make history when they face Dudley Kingswinford in tonight’s North Midlands Cup final.
The All Blacks take on DK at Stourton Park aiming to win the trophy for the first time.
Smallman said: “My message to the players will be a simple one – go and make history.
“We’ve got a few things prepared to inspire the team before kick-off. We want to put them in a place where they can handle the weight of expectation but are ready to seize the moment.”
Smallman is confident his players will not be overawed by the occasion and believes their familiarity with a venue they regularly use as a training base can only help the cause.
To that end, the boss has tried to keep the build-up as normal as possible, with the All Blacks holding a full training session as scheduled on Tuesday, before a light workout last night.
Victory would put the icing on a fine campaign which looks certain to end in a top-five finish in the Midlands Premier.
Neither is there any shortage of confidence among the Bridgnorth ranks, thanks to last week’s derby win over Newport, a result which saw them complete the season double over their county rivals.
Yet Smallman knows DK, who play one level below in Midlands One West, will prove stern opposition and enter the final on a seven-game winning streak which has boosted their promotion hopes.
He admits Bridgnorth must cope with the pressure of being favourites.
Smallman said: “I don’t think there is any getting away from the fact that on paper, we are favourites.
“But cup games like these are a real leveller. You always have to beware the underdog.
“It’s important we stamp our authority on the game from the first whistle and play the kind of rugby we want to play.
“I know the DK coach, Neil Shillngford, very well. They are everything you would expect in one of his teams. We are going to have to match their desire.”