LEADING try-scorer Josh Bainbridge believes 2016 could be Yorkshire Carnegie’s year for promotion back to the elite – and their driving line-out might be crucial in achieving it.
The teenage flanker has amassed 15 tries from just 11 games so far this season with the majority of them coming from that set-piece move.
He scored four in Sunday’s 43-9 rout of Rotherham Titans and, no doubt, will be looking to add to his tally when they head to Championship strugglers Ealing Trailfinders tomorrow.
Carnegie are in third place and desperate to return to the Premiership for the first time since 2011.
On their driving line-out, Bainbridge admitted: “If we can get it right and if it’s something we continue to work on – as long as we preview the opposition about how we can go forward and how they might defend it – it is a weapon. And, let’s say we’re into the play-offs, it could provide the game-winning moment.
“I’m not taking anything away from the backs; they were good on Sunday defensively and especially in attack, just staying high. We looked dangerous.
“We know we’re not the finished article yet but going ahead that’s something we want to be and we want to be on fire before April time.
“Hopefully, 2016 is going to be our year, especially for challenging for promotion.”
Ealing have struggled all term, but moved off bottom with only their third victory of the season when winning 28-22 at London Scottish on Boxing Day.
Bainbridge, 19, knows their confidence will be bolstered by that success and added: “It is going to be tough.
“Just the situation with the weather at the minute, too – we’ve not been able to use our (training) facility due to the flooding, but it didn’t change anything last weekend.
“We’re all the same; we all buy into the same stuff here and if there’s any bumps in the road collectively we stay strong and hopefully get through it. We do face a strong challenge with Ealing away ,but it doesn’t change for us and we’ll give it all we can.”
Bainbridge, who debuted last season and played for England Under-20s at the Rugby World Cup, faces a real battle for Carnegie’s N0 7 jersey. Chris Walker, former Saracens and England Saxons star Andy Saull and 21-year-old Jack Barnard are all competing at openside.