YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE director of rugby Martyn Wood is encouraging his rugby league converts to not “over-think” life in the 15-man code and simply do what they do best.
The club head to Hartpury today still seeking a first win of the season.
One of the positives, though, has been some promising signs from several players who have swapped codes.
Ex-Hull KR winger Ryan Shaw, for example, will start at outside centre this afternoon after switching from the wing.
He has impressed so far, scoring an intercept try in Sunday’s loss to Ealing Trailfinders, and proving a reliable goalkicker.
Wood said: “He’s played some centre for us before and I think he’s talented enough to play 12, 13, wing or full-back.
“I don’t think it really matters. The important thing for us is that he’s on the park as he is definitely a dangerous player.
“I think with Jordan Howden, who we’ve got from Doncaster (RL), Callum Bustin (from Bradford Bulls), Ross Whitmore and Shawy, they are all good rugby players, whether that’s league or union.
“They just think too much about it (union). I just want them to go out there and enjoy it first and foremost.
“There’s the technical side of it with the breakdown but I really don’t want them thinking too much about that right now.
“I want them doing what they do best – creating space and running into space. We’ll sort the rest later.”
On Shaw, Wood added: “I think he’ll probably end up being a 15 but he could be equally dangerous at 13.
“He can play anywhere really. But, with him being a 90 per cent goalkicker, we have to have him in there somewhere regardless.
“He’s a natural kicker and is doing well for us. We’re lucky to have quite a few good goalkickers but, when you’re over 90 per cent, Ryan Shaw’s your man.”
Today’s game will definitely go ahead despite worries earlier about flooding at the club’s university site in Gloucestershire.
“I got a phone call from Mark Cornwall, their coach, saying they’d closed the campus,” said Wood.
“But since then he says it’s now okay and we’re looking forward to getting down there.
“They play an expansive style of rugby and we want to go there and play some rugby ourselves.”
Carnegie have made eight changes for the trip. Tim Bitirim returns at full-back after missing the last two games through injury. Ex-England international Tom Varndell, who was ruled out with a minor injury against Ealing, comes back in on the wing, replacing Newcastle loan player Joel Matavesi who is unavailable this week.
Joe Ford returns at fly-half and Jamie Elliot makes his fifth start after missing last week’s game with an injury. Co-captain Ben Sowrey starts at hooker and James Flynn also comes back into the front-row. Alex Humfrey is named in the starting line-up for his ninth appearance in all competitions and James Seabrook also starts. George Hammond, the loan signing from Harlequins who made his debut last week, is ruled out with injury along with Sione Faletau.