Carnegie coach McGee fires warning shot at Rotherham

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Tommy McGee has warned Rotherham Titans that they will face a completely different Yorkshire Carnegie side at Clifton Lane tomorrow.

Rotherham have held the Indian sign over Carnegie this season, defeating them in the British and Irish Cup at Scarborough in October and then just last month, nilling the Headingley men on home soil in the Championship.

Tommy McGee

Tommy McGee

But that was the old Carnegie, when Gary Mercer was overseeing a troubled period at the club.

With the former New Zealand rugby league international now out of the picture, Yorkshire are starting to turn things around.

They have won two games in the B&I Cup against Aberavon and Ulster under the temporary stewardship of forwards coach McGee and head into a third derby with the Titans feeling as confident as they have all season.

So much so, that McGee is even bullish about suggestions that Carnegie had previously been “humiliated” by the Titans.

“I’ve seen suggestions that they embarrassed us twice. That wasn’t the way we saw it at all,” said McGee.

“Rotherham are a good side; they’re not a top-four side the last two years for nothing.

“They play a good brand of rugby and they’re well coached. We respect all of that.

“But we’re not looking back to past results. Things have changed since then.

“We are under no illusions about where we are and where they are.

“If we can give anything near our best, say eight out of 10 in terms of intensity and accuracy, we’ll be in with a chance of victory.”

When assessing the state of Yorkshire Carnegie at present, McGee’s rhetoric cooled.

The former Scotland A prop has been involved at the club for 10 years, during which time he has seen the highs of Premiership rugby and the depths they have plumbed in recent weeks.

With that in mind, and the propect of returning to the Championship next week with a tricky trip to Jersey, McGee is adament that the regeneration of Carnegie will not be rushed.

“We are not kidding ourselves,” he said. “We have won the last two games but we need to see that progression coming into this week and the next run of Championship games.

“We’re very much of the ethos of it being one step at a time.

“We’re very happy with where we are and with the group. We’re working on the right things and the focus is strong.

“The commitment of the players has always been there and never been in question.

“We just needed to be a little bit better.

“I’m trying to be tough with them in terms of detail and execution. It’s about creating the right environment and getting them to express themselves in games.

“In terms of planning – we’re not even focussing on Jersey. It really is one step at a time.

“Our priority is to go out and improve performances.

“By doing that we’ll give ourselves a chance going into the next block of Championship fixtures in good form.

“But momentum is a funny thing, it can come and go very quickly.

“We are still in that boat now but hopefully the tide is turning for us a little bit.”

McGee would not be drawn on his future role with the club. He was given the three games of the B&I Cup following Mercer’s departure to right the ship and is refusing to look beyond that.

“I’m just keeping my head down,” he said.