Phil Davies can see improvement in Yorkshire Carnegie squad

IT WOULD be difficult for their situation to get much worse, but newly-returned director of rugby Phil Davies is confident Yorkshire Carnegie are showing signs of improvement.

Phil Davies.

The former Leeds Tykes player and coach’s first game back at the club was a 52-0 defeat at Cornish Pirates last week which left them 11 points adrift at the foot of the Championship.

They face a Herculean task tomorrow at home to leaders Newcastle Falcons, who have a 100 per cent record after eight league matches, but Davies is in upbeat mood.

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“Our focus has been on improving in the long-term, however I have to say I have seen the guys get better with every training session,” insisted Davies.

“Obviously we are part-time and that means we have limited time on the field together, however we have made extra gym sessions available for the boys so they can fit more in around their schedules away from the club and they have all taken advantage of that.”

Davies also knows not every fixture will be as daunting as his first three. He added: “Away trips to Cornish Pirates and Jersey Reds either side of a home game against Newcastle Falcons, three of the top four currently in the league, is a tough assignment to start the year, but our focus is on seeing improvement in all areas of our game.

“If we are doing that then we will be stronger for the experience in the remaining games this season,”

Doncaster would be facing a more nervy second half to the season, but for Carnegie’s plight.

As it is, the South Yorkshire outfit are third from bottom, but 12 points clear of their county rivals.

Director of rugby Clive Griffiths believes today’s visit of Nottingham, the trip to Ampthill next week and following home meeting with London Scottish are all “winnable”.

He said: “If we can win all three that would see us safe from relegation.

“Even 10 points would put us in a strong position. but we don’t just want to ease our relegation fears, we want to start climbing the table.”