Club refuse to take DeA for granted in Cup
The mantra at CBRE Club all season has been to take it one game at a time, nothing more ambitious. It has worked for them with the league title in the bag, and now they're going for the double with the Knockout Cup.
But captain Nigel D'Acre refuses to look ahead to next week's final, insisting that today's semi-final opponents DeA Tigers still have a dangerous look about them, this despite Club dominating them all season.
'They gave us a bit of trouble the last time we met and they will come out firing,' D'Acre said. 'We will have to beat them first before we start thinking about the double. But winning the double would be nice.'
Football Club have enjoyed the luxury of being able to field a settled side all season, and it won't be any different this evening (5.45pm kick-off) at Sports Road with a full-strength side turning out.
The same does not apply to their opponents who are struggling with injuries and player suspensions. But player-coach Nigel Clarke still remained optimistic of causing problems for the favourites.
'It is annoying that we have not been able to put out our strongest side all season. But we have been playing well since Christmas, only losing one match and that one was to Club. We are confident of pulling off an upset,' Clarke said. Prop Mark Luaflealo is serving a two-week suspension for his role in an altercation with Club winger Andrew Chambers, the last time the sides met a fortnight ago. Chambers got a one-week ban, Luaflealo two.
'His absence in the front row will have a little bit of an impact on us,' said Clarke, worried about how Club's powerful forwards can be neutralised in the scrum. DeA Tigers will also miss lock Nick Hurrell and centre Heydin Lafaele from the side who went down 22-7 to Club. Justin Gregory, who has been injured for some time, will also be absent today. The good news for DeA is that fullback Rowan Varty is back from a leg injury.
Last week against Valley, DeA pushed winger Peter Clough to scrum-half in the absence of Fan Shun-kei, and Clough had a great game, playing a huge role in victory. But DeA has resisted the temptation of continuing with Clough who makes way for Fan. Clarke has urged DeA to show a bit more 'physicality' and take on Club in the loose. 'We have to be tough, especially in the loose. We also have to play intelligently and try to keep our penalty count down,' added Clarke.
In the other First Division semi-final, Crown Valley take on Synovate HKCC at King's Park.