Bryan Redpath intends to use the last three games of the season to work out which players he will carry forward into his first full season as Yorkshire Carnegie head coach.
The Headingley club’s turbulent 2014-15 season is technically not over yet with Carnegie just six points adrift of the top-four promotion play-offs with 15 still to play for.
But the realist in Redpath knows that a trip to Worcester tomorrow is as close to mission impossible as it gets.
The Warriors have not lost at home all season and are beating a path back towards the Premiership.
To that end, Redpath – who has overseen victories over Plymouth and Jersey in his first two matches in charge – knows this season’s run-in is all about the next campaign.
“The focus now is making sure everybody knows where they stand going into the next three weeks,” said Redpath, who has stated previously that he wants five or six players to enhance what he already has at his disposal.
“Some players will be staying with us, but some won’t – that’s just the nature of rugby.
“Results may go against us if we don’t get a victory this weekend and potentially the other two teams win, then it takes that top four away from us.
“So the boys who are playing this weekend will get the chance to put their hands up for the following two weeks at home.
“It’s a big chance for everyone in our group.”
Redpath has been pleased with some aspects of Yorkshire’s play in his two games in charge but certain aspects like their indiscipline and sloppy defence has rankled with him.
In the two weeks since their win over Jersey, he has at least had chance to start putting some of his own patterns into place on the training field.
“Last week was a chance to have a bit of down time and look at the basic skills and get a bit of feedback on where they think they can improve as players, and that’s very important when you’re out of the pressure of the build-up to the game to give those players that chance,” he said.
“It’s not a case of worrying too much about Worcester. We know what they are. We need to tidy up on some of our unforced errors. Defensively we were good but still managed to concede soft tries in both games. We have to make sure everyone knows their role and does their role, not worrying about what if this happens or whose going to do that. The driver for us is our own actions and core skills, which need to be really good on Saturday.”
After slipping up at National League 2 North basement side Stockport, Otley have a tough task to make amends at home to second-top Ampthill tomorrow.
Harrogate are buzzing after reaching the Yorkshire Cup final and will fancy their chances at Leicester Lions.
Wharfedale, meanwhile, will be taking nothing for granted at home to already relegated Macclesfield, such is the nature of results this season in National League 1.
It doesn’t get any easier for relegated Morley, who travel to Billingham tomorrow in National 3 North, while top-table Sandal have a chance to strengthen their position at lowly Burnage.
Tomorrow’s fixtures (selected):
The Championship: Worcester v Yorkshire Carnegie.
National League 1: Wharfedale v Macclesfield.
National 2 North: Leicester Lions v Harrogate; Otley v Ampthill.
National 3 North: Billingham v Morley; Burnage v Sandal; Westoe v Cleckheaton.
Yorkshire One: Selby v Pontefracts; Yarnbury v North Ribblesdale.
Yorkshire Two: Barnsley v Knottingley; Roundhegians v Old Rishworthians; Sheffield Medicals v Moortown, West Leeds v Leodiensians; WP Leeds v Leeds Medics.
Yorkshire Three: Bramley Phoenix v Northallerton, Old Modernians v Aireborough, Old Otliensians v Burley, Rotherham Phoenix v Castleford, Stocksbridge v Harrogate Pythons, Thornensians v Old Grovians.
Yorkshire Four: Halifax Vandals v Leeds Corinthians, Hornsea v Knaresborough, Sheffield Oaks v Ossett, Wetherby v Skipton.
Yorkshire Five: Garforth v Hessle, Wibsey v Stanley Rodillians.