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Friday, 18 April 2014

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No celebrations as Whitehaven achieve promotion with games to spare

Don Gailer will put Whitehaven’s promotion celebrations on hold after they confirmed their place in the Championship next term with a 60-12 demolition of Gateshead Thunder yesterday.

Don Gailer photo
Don Gailer

The Haven boss warned there was still plenty of rugby ahead this season, with a league game at London Skolars on Friday week and the visit of North Wales Crusaders, followed by the play-offs.

“We will keep our heads on,” pledged the coach. “We are in fairly good form coming up to the semis, but we have two games before that, and we can’t let our focus shift.

“We have a TV game against London, and last time we were on TV we didn’t do as well as we should have, so we need to do a good job there, and there’s also another game at home. We will worry about the semis, then.”

The win against struggling Gateshead ensures Haven’s promotion with two matches to spare, and Gailer admitted it had come as a relief to achieve the club’s No 1 target for the season.

“There was a bit of relief for everyone, and it takes a bit of pressure off,” he added. “We scored some smart tries, though Gateshead didn’t stop trying, and that’s been them all year.

“They keep coming at you and are a young side who are getting the basics right over there. I think they will have a much better year next year for the foundation they have put in this year.

“Being 40-0 up at half-time we spoke about getting our intensity up in the second-half, but we came out, gave away a soft penalty, didn’t defend hard on the back of that and they got in.

“Full credit to them. But once we got back in to it we started to defend well again. And I thought our shape and attacking flare out wide was good, and Carl Rudd really stood up.”

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