09:00 Saturday 22 February 2014

Burton RFC to rest players after hard Lichfield test

Written byDAVID BROOME

08/02/14 Burton 1XV v Kenilworth 1XV - Burton, BurtonBurton 1XV v Kenilworth 1XV at Peel Croft 08/02/14 Burton 1XV v Kenilworth 1XV - Burton, BurtonBurton 1XV v Kenilworth 1XV at Peel Croft

BURTON RFC are without a game today, and director of rugby Steve Smith is likely to give some of his team the weekend off after a gruelling and ultimately fruitless clash last weekend.

The Crofters were beaten by league leaders Lichfield, snuffing out any hope they might have had of a shot of the title.

Second place, and a promotion play-off spot, is still very much Burton’s to lose though.

Smith said: “The game was very brutal physically, with neither team giving an inch.

“It was frustrating that we absolutely dominated scrums with several decisions going against us when clearly we were just the dominant team.

“At a higher level I am sure the Lichfield loose-head would have been yellow-carded for continual infringements.

“Having said that, we had enough chances in the last 10 minutes to win the game but it wasn’t to be.

“Fair play to Lichfield, on the day their clinical finishing matched ours, but their kicking and probably game management won them a tough victory.

“The coaches will take the opportunity to rest the first XV squad ahead of the run in and the ultimate aim of claiming second spot in the league – and a play-off which looks increasingly likely to be against Derby from the East league.

“There is still loads to play for with Hereford, Stoke Walsall and a couple of other teams being more than capable of pipping Burton.

“Those who need match sharpness will also play.

“It is likely that we will see several previously injured players bolstering the A team squad, including Joe Gazzard, who may well have a huge part to play in the final two months of the season following Josh Cartwright’s injury in last week’s game.

“He was taken out in the line out by his opposite number and badly damaging his ligaments and very fortunate it wasn’t broken.”

The second-string will be playing Lichfield away in the semi-final of the cup.

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