Carnegie stay expansive after heeding lesson from the Welsh

Rob Vickerman
Rob Vickerman
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ROB VICKERMAN says Leeds Carnegie will not change their style despite being “old-manned” by their Championship rivals.

They host Bedford Blues tomorrow looking to bounce back immediately after a frustrating 19-10 defeat at leaders London Welsh.

Leeds had opportunities to win at a side vying with them for promotion but were undone by some wily campaigners.

“We were just old-manned really,” said winger Vickerman.

“It’s always difficult going down to Welsh and you expect a bit of attrition but they brought in loads of it.

“They were just smarter and had a bit of old-manness about them.

“It wasn’t surprising given their 10, 12 and 13 had a combined age of 106 and our old friend from Leeds – Gordon Ross – only had hands laid on him about three times throughout all the game,

“He showed he’s still a class player and nailed all his kicks.

“We were probably a little bit down on our discipline and didn’t adjust as well as we should have done to the new official when the referee went off injured and was replaced.

“We wanted to play with endeavour and be expansive but it probably backfired on us.

“It’s really refreshing though that we’re planning to come back and still play an expansive style against Bedford.

“Our coaches are big believers in playing rugby and we’ll show similar ambition again without getting nailed down into the sort of traditional game you might see in January and February.”

Vickerman, who rejoined the club before Christmas after spending much of his recent career in the England Sevens environment, knows it is important they respond tomorrow.

Welsh was only their first loss in nine games but such is the competitive nature of Championship rugby it is vital they quickly get back to winning ways.

“It’s strange as clubs are still expanding and changing their squads,” he said. “Everyone is still trying to work each other out. Bristol have just made a lot of loan signings recently and so have plenty of others.

“So, you just have to concentrate on your opponent each week and, for us, that’s a pretty talented Bedford side.”

Of those on the move is Sam Lockwood, the Leeds prop who has joined Championship rivals Jersey on loan.

Leeds coach James Lowes makes four changes with David Doherty on the wing instead of Josh Griffin, scrum-half Craig Hampson returning for James Doherty, Joe Graham swapping with Phil Nilsen at hooker and Harry Casson at second-row.