Harrogate draw strength from Wappett comments

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Mike Aspinall believes comments made by Macclesfield head coach Geoff Wappett will motivate his Harrogate RUFC players when the high-fliers visit Claro Road on Saturday.

Macclesfield have enjoyed a fine season in National Two North and lie second only to Darlington Mowden Park in the table.

But injury-hit ‘Gate provided a stern challenge for the Lancashire side in October when they scored 28 points in a high-scoring defeat.

Wappett instigated a surprising war of words earlier this week when he said his side were “considerable better” than Harrogate that day.

And the head coach suggested he would not waste effort analysing ‘Gate on videos before the clash.

When asked on the Macclesfield club website if Harrogate posed any particular challenge, Wappett said, “Well, no – not really.”

Aspinall said his side would “undoubtedly” take motivation from the comments.

He responded: “It was interesting to hear what Geoff has to say about a team that put 20 points on his lads.

“We will see what he is saying on Saturday.”

Gate will head into the clash in prime form having picked up their fourth win in five matches on Saturday.

Gate battled awful conditions to beat struggling Bromsgrove 23-17 away.

James Audsley-Beck scored Harrogate’s opening try on his return to first team action before Callum Irvine doubled the try-count after a skilful interception.

Bromsgrove kept within touching distance of ‘Gate before Rob Adair’s second-half converted try sealed ‘Gate’s win.

Joe Rowntree also slotted over two penalties and a conversion.

The four-point victory moved Gate into eighth.

“We had to graft it out. We defended really well,” added Aspinall.

“We took our points well when we had our opportunities.

“But because of the weather, it became more about mentality and the collective will of the players.

“If there’s one thing that we do have, it’s a group of players that want to play for each other.

“We have got the lowest budget in the league.

“To be sat in eighth, we must have something going for us.”

Steve Parsons will return for this Saturday’s clash.

Nathan Smith has also avoided a suspension after having two yellow cards rescinded at an appeal hearing.

Aspinall has instructed his squad to play without fear when Macclesfield arrive.

He said: “It’s a massive ask.

“The Macclesfield pack is the best in the league.

“But it’s really nice to go into that game having picked up points in the last four out of five.

“We can have a good go at it and take the pressure out of it.”