Yorkshire Carnegie’s bid to extend their winning start to the season to four games forms the central part of a triple hit of union fixtures in the city this weekend.
Carnegie host London Scottish in the Greene King IPA Championship at Headingley tonight at 6pm, a fixture that is sandwiched by two Rugby World Cup pool fixtures at Elland Road.
Italy meet Canada today in Pool D, while Scotland face the United States at the city’s football ground 24 hours later.
Bryan Redpath, Carnegie’s head coach who is also a former Scotland scrum-half, has a vested interest in both the domestic and international fixtures.
“I think it is fantastic for the area to be hosting the World Cup,” said Redpath, whose Carnegie side lead the early Championship standings.
“We have seen already this week how excited people are getting about the games and it will be brilliant to be part of that here in Yorkshire.”
Fly-half Joel Hodgson will make his debut, replacing Harry Leonard, who starts on the bench. Pete Lucock returns at centre for Andy Forsyth while Taylor Prell replaces David Doherty (back) on the wing after Doherty. Chris Pilgrim returns in place of Max Green. In the forwards, Charlie Beech and Rob O’Donnell replace Lee Imiolek and James Tideswell at prop with Phil Nilsen in for Jack Walker at hooker.
The second World Cup fixture to take place at Elland Road tomorrow sees Redpath’s Scotland take on the United States, whose chief executive is Leeds-born Nigel Melville.
Melville, 54, said: “We are hoping it’s a very competitive game and that we give it our all because that’s the nature of the US Eagles.
“This weekend’s game is so important to us because you’re playing a tier one team, one of the traditional teams in Scotland, and we always feel we want to be competitive.
“It’s a benchmark for us. Traditionally in World Cups there has been blow-outs. It was a problem for the credibility ofthe World Cup itself.
“But what you’re seeing with the competitiveness of the games in this World Cup, is that progress is being made.”