Cup allows Yorkshire clubs to shuffle pack

Garry Law is back for Rotherham Titans
Garry Law is back for Rotherham Titans
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Tommy McGee is delighted that the attitude and determination of the Leeds Carnegie players in training, is being rewarded on matchday.

Leeds climbed into a share of second place in the Championship last week, alongside, among others, their Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham Titans.

Both clubs are handily placed to make a sustained assault on the top four once the next six weeks are out of the way, when four fixtures in the British and Irish Cup take priority.

Yorkshire’s two teams go into the competition with one win and one defeat, and on the back of impressive victories to end the second tranche of Championship fixtures.

Leeds won at Bristol, a side well-equipped to last the course in the race for the Premiership.

It was the kind of performance that left Carnegie forwards coach McGee beaming with pride.

“A performance like the one at Bristol has been brewing for a while and I’m delighted for the players that they got the chance to show that, because the last time it clicked like that was down at Cornish Pirates,” said McGee.

“Whatever we tell the players to do they respond well. The attitude and willingness to learn and the fact that there are no egos from such a young group, is great to work with.

“And they are starting to realise how good they are. They are starting to trust in themselves.

“It doesn’t matter what is going on in the game, as long as they apply what they have learnt and work hard, that’s all we ask.”

Head coach James Lowes will lean heavily on a number of the club’s academy players for the first of a double-header with Aberavon in Wales today.

McGee added: “Some guys have played a lot of rugby and it’s important to give them a break.

“They’ve put a lot into it emotionally and physically so it gives a chance to a number of younger guys.

“We are trying to build a culture of winning here so whoever it is that is playing, that’s what they have to remember.”

McGee is viewed by many as being instrumental in the good form of Leeds in 2013, after he came on board in January.

But the former Scotland A prop says he owes everything to his coaching baptism at Wharfedale.

“Wharfedale gave me a real grounding as a coach,” he said. “I like to be honest with the players and have good relationships with them.

“I’m a very proud person and I hope that rubs off on the players.”

Lee Blackett hands a first start of the season to fly-half Garry Law today as Rotherham Titans also head to Wales to face Llanelli.

“Garry being back in the side is like having a new signing,” said Blackett. “He will make a massive difference because he is such a good player.”