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All Blacks will not be caught cold, says head coach Spike Rainford

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford has a full-strength squad to choose from Simon Bryant/Iktisphoto

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The temperature may be close to freezing, but Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford has no fear of his side being caught cold this weekend.

The Launceston side expect their National League Two South fixture at home to second-placed Henley Hawks to go ahead at Polson Bridge tomorrow.

The only obstacle is likely to be Henley's ability to travel as the weather continues to frustrate further afield.

The All Blacks were certainly left disappointed last weekend, as their trip to Shelford was called off the day before the game.

However, Rainford's men proved they are capable of going well from a standing start – they beat highly-rated Hartpury College earlier this month after a three-week break. "We are OK down here with the weather," he said.

"But my biggest worry is the amount of snow around the Bristol area and further up. It will be whether they are able to get down to us or not, our pitch will be fine and playable with the temperatures due to start climbing again.

"It was what it was last week at Shelford, we were pretty pragmatic about it and just put it behind us and we move on.

"Most of our guys would have been happier if it had been called off on the Thursday evening, rather than the Friday afternoon.

"But there was not a game played in the league last weekend, so it is the same for everyone. We have just got to play through it and be able to deal with these things.

"The players will be no worse for a week off; you don't become player overnight. And just because you miss a game, it doesn't make you a bad team.

"If it is anything like the Hartpury game was, then it will be a good spectacle and a good game to come and watch.

"That rugby, and what we showed against Dings, was cracking stuff and anybody coming to Polson at the moment is getting their money's worth.

"If people want to watch a good game of rugby, there will be few better places to come this weekend."

After a strong start to the season, Henley suffered a home scare when they met the All Blacks earlier in the season, before eventually earning a 26-13 victory.

Rainford believes his team have a made a lot of progress since that day in October. He said: "We were one of the first teams to concede less than 60 or 70 points against them.

"It was 26-13 at the end of the game I thought that was unlucky for us because we finished the game with 14 men and could have been closer.

"We have come a long way since then."

But for Rainford, there is still much work to do between now and the end of the current campaign.

He said: "It doesn't matter where you are in January, it is where you are in May at the end of the season that counts.

"We feel like we are in a better position this year across the board – financially and player-wise, we are in a good position."

The All Blacks are also in a sound health with the fitness of their players. Rainford has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

"We are back to full strength now," he said. "Lloyd Duke is back fit and we are back to full strength and the guys are chomping at the bit."

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