Mac plans Esher's great escape

First published in Rugby Union by

Canada international Phil Mackenzie has insisted recent performances prove Esher can yet pull off the great escape from relegation this season.

Esher are a massive 18 points adrift at the foot of the Championship with just one solitary win in 18 matches and doomed to the play-offs.

Confidence is still high at Molesey Road with director of rugby Mike Schmid’s men having taken eight points from their last four games against four of the top five teams in the division.

Esher drew against London Welsh, beat Rotherham and were impressive in defeats against league leaders Bristol and at home to Cornish Pirates.

Now Mackenzie wants Esher to turn up the heat in Saturday’s trip to Doncaster after a week off with each league win worth a point toward the play-offs.

Relegation rivals London Scottish and Moseley are on five wins and Plymouth on six, leaving Esher hunting at least two more wins to take into the play-offs in March.

Esher face clashes with likely play-offs rivals Scottish and Plymouth at home plus a trip to Leeds.

“We need to target every game,” said Mackenzie.

“Of course the games against Plymouth and London Scottish are effectively worth double points, but we know we can be competitive against any side.

“Doncaster are a very physical team and we must make sure we front up, especially in the forwards.

“But we must also make sure we keep to our defensive systems for the whole game and also that our kicking game is spot-on.

“We could have won against Cornish Pirates but a couple of mistakes proved very costly and we must make sure we are switched on for the full 80 minutes.”

Esher stormed into a 17-0 lead against Pirates but eventually lost 36-30 despite scoring four tries through Charlie Walker, Matt Symons, Ross Chisholm and Jamie Mackenzie to gain their second four-try bonus point of the campaign.

But Mackenzie, who missed the first two months of the season on World Cup duty, believes Esher can go into the play-offs on a high.

“The mood is still good and everybody’s pretty happy with the way we have been playing recently,” he added.

“There’s no need to panic. I think we have to be confident we can get out of this. As a group of players, if we all pull together we will be all right.”

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