New England Rugby: Tamworth set for third grade minor semi-final showdown with Armidale

Tamworth’s trailblazing third grade side are “optimistic” they can turn around a final round drubbing at the hands of Armidale when they clash with the Blues in Sunday’s New England minor semi-final.

Boost: Michael Pearce will have a big role to play in defence and attack.

Boost: Michael Pearce will have a big role to play in defence and attack.

It has been a couple of seasons since the Magpies have played finals football, and coach Murray Lang said the boys are “excited and focused”.

“Obviously being in a new competition, we’re treading new ground,” Lang said.

He concedes they have “got a challenge” with the Blues’ running out 59-7 victors only a week ago, but said they are “feeling very optimistic about a win”.

For one they have got a full compliment of players this week.

Also contributing to the sense of optimism is the fact that they have beaten the Blues once already this season.

One of the areas the Magpies have identified they need to be better is their midfield defence, Lang noting that the Blues have got a “really good centre pairing”.

READ MORE: 

He said they’ve been doing a lot of work on that this week, and expects the inclusion of Charles Meyers and Michael Pearce in the centres to stiffen the midfield defence.

Pearce has been a bit of a utility for them this season switching between the forwards and backs as needed, and will also add some punch to their attack.

“We’ve (also) got some speed outwide on the wings. We think that will improve our attack,” Lang said.

The game will be played at Alcatraz Rugby Park with the third grade fixture the second of six games, the action all kicking off at 10am.

The winner will progress to a finals showdown with either Robb College or St Alberts.