Rainford is ready for Cornish All Blacks' tough challenges
The Cornish All Blacks make one of the toughest journeys of their National League Two South season tomorrow.
The Launceston men will set off for second-placed Worthing at 6.45am hoping to build on their excellent recent form.
Head coach Spike Rainford knows a victory could close the gap on the division's top five sides and set them up for a hugely anticipated derby against Redruth the following week.
He said: "It is one game at a time, but we are mindful that if we get a good result this weekend it carries you forward with that extra bit of faith and go-forward.
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"If you had to pick two tough games and put them back to back, Worthing away and then Redruth at home would probably be the two you would pick out.
"We are five wins on the bounce, five wins out of the last seven. We are heading in the right direction with the gap to close on the guys at the top.
"A win at Worthing would help us do that, closing those two games out would put us back in the mix with the top five sides."
The All Blacks' last win came against Canterbury at Polson Bridge last weekend. They were made to work hard for a 34-27 success, but their ability to overcome a strong challenge marks the difference in this season's squad compared to recent years.
Rainford said: "Canterbury are a good side and only a couple of places below us in the league. They had been on a little bit of a run themselves. The top half of the table is very much a game-by-game scenario and whoever turns up with the best game on the day wins.
"We did have a little wobble midway through the second half and let them get a couple of tries in but the difference this year has been that we worked hard, put another score on the board and then closed the game out.
"We have proved we are a bit more worldly wise and savvy this year when it comes to closing games out.
"We have done that a couple of times this year – taken the lead and closed the game out. We had to work hard on Saturday but we got the result we wanted. On our day, we are as good as anyone in our league."
Rainford will again instruct his side to stick to their own game plan, rather than worry about the opposition.
He said: "We have to be at our best and I'm sure if we do that we will be OK.
"If you try and adapt your game to the opposition, you can finish up playing their style of game and that doesn't do you any good. We have to play our game first and foremost – if we can do that any team would struggle to beat us.
"It is very easy to buy into the press and look too deeply into their results. But they have lost two games this year and there is no reason they couldn't lose a third. If you get drawn into them being at the top of the league, you can get yourselves into trouble."
Rainford hinted at changes this weekend, with two very different challenges ahead. He said: "There may be a couple of alterations this week. Because we've got the two biggest games of the season back to back, I want to make sure we are ready for two entirely different games."