THEY may have been latent for much of this season but Jonah Holmes has told Championship rivals to expect the best of Yorkshire Carnegie’s backline in the definitive few weeks ahead.
The former Wasps full-back admits he has largely been disappointed with his own form in 2015-16 and believes most of his team-mates in the three-quarters would say likewise.
Nevertheless, ahead of this afternoon’s trip to London Welsh, when a win would secure Carnegie a play-offs spot, he senses that is on the change.
“I’ve not been happy with the way I’ve played this season and I think a lot of the backs would say the same,” explained Holmes, with just three more league games remaining after today before the top-four play-offs begin.
“I’m not sure if I can pinpoint why. It’s either that we’ve not been getting enough ball or we’ve not known each other well enough to exploit each others’ strengths as much as possible.
“We’ve some amazing players at Carnegie, some really good backs, and that’s why it’s been frustrating.
“But I’d like to think people have seen what we can do in the last few games and what we’ll be pushing to do towards the play-offs.
“Things are starting to click now and the team is starting to show more shape.
“I know I’ve done more running of the ball in the last last few games and hopefully I can make more impact, too, in these next weeks ahead.”
Carnegie moved up to third last Sunday, displacing opponents Bedford Blues after a 35-20 win in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
They have won four successive games in all competitions now and, as well as facing Welsh today, they also tackle the same opposition in the British & Irish Cup final at Headingley a week on Sunday.
Holmes, 23, added: “I’m happy we’re in that final.
“Hopefully we can push on and win some silverware.
“Winning at Welsh on Saturday would be a good boost to do the same next weekend but we know they’ll be tough opposition.
“We got to the final in 2014 and lost to Leinster A (44-17) in Dublin.
“That was probably our worst game of that season and I remember (then head coach) Jimmy (Lowes) shouting at me for the first time in a long time during that game.
“A few of the boys have experienced it before but this one will be at home rather than away and we’re hoping to get a bigger crowd than usual to help get behind us.”
Welsh defeated Carnegie 10-7 at Headingley last November during Kevin Sinfield’s first Championship start for the Yorkshire side in what was a frustrating night when the hosts failed to make their possession and territory pay.
“We want to get revenge for that and, like we did with Bedford last week, start writing the wrongs from earlier in the season,” added Holmes.
“We want to improve on that Bedford win, though, as there was certain aspects that weren’t good enough and it’s important our performances keep getting better ready for those play-offs.”
Current head coach Bryan Redpath has made a number of changes to his pack for the first meeting between the sides.
Tighthead prop Rob O’Donnell, hooker Phil Nilsen and second-row Dean Schofield all start while captain Chris Jones returns at blindside and Andy Saull wears the No7 jersey.
Rotherham Titans, meanwhile, make the long trip to Jersey today knowing they face one of the Championship’s form teams.
The Channel Islanders have lost just four of their last 16 games in all competitions and defeated Rotherham 27-6 at Clifton Lane in November.
The South Yorkshire club’s future in the division is now, though, secure following Doncaster Knights’ 38-23 win at bottom-placed Moseley last night which relieves some of the pressure on them.
Head coach Justin Burnell has made seven changes to the side that defeat Nottingham last week.
Will Goodwin comes in at full-back for Sean Scanlon, a new centre pairing of Joe Barker and Joel Gill is created in place of Will Owen and Jordan Davies while at scrum half Andy Davies is given the nod over Luke Carter.
Jack Preece starts at hooker for the injured Charlie Maddison, Toby Salmon comes in at second-row for the injured George Oram and Willie Ryan is selected ahead of Max Argyle at No 8.
Burnell said: “Jersey are fifth in the league at the moment and renowned for their pack; they’re a good side and they will present us with a massive challenge.
“For us though, it’s about putting together a performance which will give us an opportunity to do well in a difficult environment.”