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Ross Sutherland face must-win match at Moray in bid for Caledonia North Two survival, says head coach Mann


By Will Clark

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Ross Sutherland head coach John Mann says four points is a must, but five would be a luxury against Moray in the Caledonia North Two bottom of the table clash in Elgin.

The Stags are in deep relegation trouble after the 20–15 defeat to Aberdeenshire in Invergordon last Saturday.

The defeat leaves Ross Sutherland eight points behind Moray but vitally they have a game in hand as both teams aim to avoid the drop to Caledonia North Three.

Ali Kennedy (left) in action for Ross Sutherland against Highland 2nd XV last season.
Ali Kennedy (left) in action for Ross Sutherland against Highland 2nd XV last season.

Ross Sutherland have only won one of their six league matches this season which was a 36–27 victory over Moray in Invergordon in October.

Approaching the half-way point of the season, Mann says tomorrow is a game which they must win. He said he would take a victory of any scoreline, but said his team will also be looking to score four tries to gain a vital bonus point.

“It’s a big one as it’s eighth versus seventh,” said Mann.

“Moray are eight points ahead and we have a game in hand.

“But a week ago we were chasing Banff, but with one win they have jumped up to fifth. So it is gung-ho chasing down Moray, it is a big game and we’re going into it fairly confident. Four points is a must, five would be a luxury.”

Despite four defeats in-a-row, Mann says performances are improving.

Brothers Ali Kennedy, Dave Kennedy and Murray Kennedy along with John Gordon and Scotty Munro returned to the squad against Aberdeenshire.

He says adding experience back into the squad has been of benefit for their chances of survival.

He said: “Just having those five boys on the pitch physically made a difference.”

Mann says Ross Sutherland were surprised how strong Aberdeenshire were in the five-point defeat at the Naval Grounds.

“Aberdeenshire travelled a lot stronger than expected,” he said.

“It was a game of two styles, their set-piece was fantastic and you have to say they were dominant at the scrum and line-out and that is where their scores came from.

“To come out shy of one try when we butchered a couple of opportunities we felt pretty hard about it.”



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