‘Future looking bright’ at Ripon declares director of rugby

Ripon's Harry Cleary on the run (Photo: Dave Naylor)
Ripon's Harry Cleary on the run (Photo: Dave Naylor)
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Ripon director of rugby Ian Hassall proclaimed the future was bright at Mallorie Park after his young guns marched to a second successive win.

The Blues climbed up to 10th in the table after putting bottom club Leodiensian to the sword 19-5 on Saturday, with teenager Euan Findlay producing a man of the match display.

Findlay ran in two tries as well as setting up fellow teen Harry Cleary for a third score as Ripon won on the road for the first time this season.

The youngster is one of Ripon’s hot prospects in the back division, and he was on top form at the weekend.

Hassall acknowledged the stand-out display, but paid tribute to the full squad for pulling together and buying into the coaching methods at Mallorie Park.

He said: “We had two 17-year-olds in the side that are more than holding their own. We still suffer from the university exodus but we are finding this year that people want to come back and play

“You obviously want these young lads to achieve what they want to achieve but it would be nice to get a couple of seasons out of them before they try and turn their hand at a higher level.”

Ripon will bid to extend their winning run at home to sixth-placed Knottingley on Saturday, a side that have already lost both of their away matches this season.

The only downside for Ripon was the fallibility of their scrum, which was consistently pushed backwards by the hosts.

Hassall admitted the lack of prop forwards could hurt Ripon moving forward, but the return of Adam Scott-Paul later this month will ease the crisis.

“We have worked hard on our defence since getting rolled by more than 50 points against Keighley,” Hassall added.

“The lads have worked hard on the tactical side and got that out on the pitch in the last two weeks.

“We have started putting sides under pressure, if you shut a side down and put them under pressure you’re in with a chance.

“There are some very good sides in Yorkshire Two but I do feel when you look at the results, that anybody, on their day, can beat anyone else.

“You just have to be concerned on your own game.

“It would be nice to think that by the end of the season we can be up there rather than being down near the bottom.

“But if we are consistent and end up near the bottom, I will have no qualms about that, because I will know the lads have done their best.”

With the Rugby World Cup in full swing, Hassall was keen for the club to take full advantage of its legacy value, despite the poor showing of the English national team.

He said: “The club is in good shape at the moment. We have 30 players in most of the squads right down to the youngest teams.

“As director of rugby, I am pleased with the way the club is moving. Hopefully we can just sustain the results and keep them improving.