Coffs rugby will need to excel

IF Coffs Harbour are to have any hope of beating Port Pirates when they travel south next weekend they have to show they have what it takes when they tackle Kempsey Cannonballs today at Park Beach Plaza Rugby Park.

"The next two Saturdays will put a big test on our credentials if we hope to defend our title," coach Paul Butcher said.

"Starting today we need to excel in the scrums and be really on our game at the ruck and maul.

"The backline at Thursday night's training was the best it's looked for a year or two and if they can run with it today, they should stand out for the team."

Butcher has named his favoured pairing in the halves, Leith Vaughan and Kevin Simpson, after experimenting (by necessity) for most of the season.

"Kevvy gives quick service at fly half and it allows me to move Gus (Garland) wider to provide more attacking options," he said.

With Brad Jackson unavailable through work commitments, Mitch Lind gets a reprieve in the forward pack while Butcher will wait until just before kick-off to name a replacement for country schools representative, Ben Waldsax.

The Alan McCabe Shield goes on the line and will be awarded to the club scoring most wins on the day.

A fourth match has been added to the program with women's rugby returning this afternoon.

Under-18s travel to Port Macquarie to face Hastings Valley Vikings.

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