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All Blacks wary of tough Bournemouth encounter

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford is hoping his side can earn a third straight victory picture: Simon Bryant

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Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford is confident his side can make the most of their recent week off when they travel to Bournemouth tomorrow.

The All Blacks had no fixture last weekend, owing to Rugby Lions' withdrawal from National League Two South before the start of the season.

Rainford is keen to ensure they continue their winning form, after beating both Taunton and Lydney in the weeks leading up to their enforced break.

"It is a double-edged sword," said Rainford. "We had no major injuries but quite a few of the guys were carrying knocks and strains.

"Then again, you have to be aware of the risk of losing your momentum. It is a 50-50 thing as far as I'm concerned."

An All Blacks XV did enjoy a 46-27 success over Exmouth's second XV in a friendly on Tuesday. The performance gave Rainford confidence in his vision of bringing players through the club's second XV and colts sides.

"It is a nice position to be in to know we have guys pushing," he said. "There is still a bit of a gap between the two sides but it is getting closer all the time."

The trip to Dorset can be arduous but Rainford wants his side to keep matters on the pitch relatively simple.

He said: "It is quite a trip, not so much in miles but it is quite awkward to get to. It will be a long coach journey.

"We will just go there and play our game. When we do that, I think we are very difficult to beat – that is the plan. We will try not to worry too much about them and concentrate more on our game."

Consistency has been the one area of minor concern for Rainford this season.

They have played some excellent attacking rugby throughout his first campaign in charge but their last two games represent the first time back-to-back wins have been able to produce.

Rainford said: "Everything is there and when we put a performance in, it can be some of the best rugby we have seen for ages.

"But like anything, when you have got a group of lads in their first season together, that is part of what happens – you have peaks and troughs.

"That is my job to try and sort that out and get the boys playing well on a regular basis.

"We have won two games on the bounce and if we can take that into this Saturday and into Barking next week, we set ourselves up really well for the second half of the season."

Jake Murphy's rib injury will mean Nielson Webber filling in at fly-half alongside scrum-half Richard Friend.

Both men are more used to playing at nine, but Rainford has no concerns about Webber's ability to adapt to the other half-back role.

He said: "Nielson played for us in pre-season against Plymouth and against Exmouth.

"Richard Friend and Nielson played together on a few occasions at Barnstaple. It is not alien to them.

"Nelly is a great ball-player and can control the game well. I've got no worries about him jumping in there for Jake Murphy."

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