Yorkshire Carnegie v Cornish Pirates: All change for Carnegie after crushing defeat at Nottingham

IT IS perhaps no surprise that after an 83-0 opening night loss, Yorkshire Carnegie have made sweeping changes for their Championship Cup game against Cornish Pirates.

Yorkshire Carnegie director of rugby Martyn Wood and head coach Joe Ford.

Following that sobering experience at Nottingham, director of rugby Martyn Wood and head coach Joe Ford make nine alterations for tomorrow’s fixture at West Park Leeds (12.30pm).

Crucially, one of those sees ex-Leicester Tigers fly-half Ford include himself as Carnegie – still only in the early stages of their reformation – seek to bring some much-needed experience to the ranks.

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“We’ll be better,” said Wood, with hooker Ben Sowery coming in to add his Premiership nous, too, as co-captain. “We have three simple stats that we aim for which we know about – little improvements in certain areas – and we know they are achievable. If we do that we’ll be pleased.

“I think there will be (a reaction). I’m not expecting it to be any easier but our mindset will be a little different.

“Nottingham were excellent last Friday; they played really well and finished off each chance they had. At times we just sat back and sat off them a little.

“What was disappointing is that we didn’t put into practice what we’d been doing on the training field. That’s what we hope to do this week.”

Asked if Ford – whose brother George was directing England in the World Cup on Thursday – expected to come in so early or if it was a reaction to the size of that defeat, Wood added: “Ultimately we’ve got these three (Cup) games where we want to try a few combinations so there’s a bit of both really.

“Undoubtedly Joe’s experience will help and with Joe Carlisle coming in at centre, too, it will make it a little bit easier to direct traffic.

“I think Joe’s quite keen on playing as well and just getting cracking really.”

Pirates are led by Chris Stirling, who was Carnegie director of rugby until they hit financial problems at the end of last season.

“They will be a good well-drilled side,” said Wood.

“I don’t think Chris Stirling coming back will have any effect on him or us or anything.

“It’s a game of rugby against a good team and we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s been a difficult time but we want as much support as possible.

“It’s the start of our season at home and we want to get as much support down there as possible.”

After the Carnegie game, West Park Leeds host Barnsley in Yorkshire Two (3pm).