Absence of head coach empowers Carnegie

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The absence of a head coach at the newly-christened Yorkshire Carnegie is promoting leadership among the players, according to one of their more senior figures.

Centre Rob Vickerman was in a buoyant mood ahead of pre-season training despite Carnegie not yet appointing a new head coach as a replacement for James Lowes, who quit Leeds to takeover at Bradford Bulls last month.

Rob Vickerman, second right, with his Yorkshire Carnegie team-mates. (Picture: Varley Picture Agency)

Rob Vickerman, second right, with his Yorkshire Carnegie team-mates. (Picture: Varley Picture Agency)

And despite the new season fast approaching Carnegie chief executive Sir Ian McGeechan has said that they are in no rush to make an appointment – not that the lack of urgency worries seasoned campaigner Vickerman.

“A lot of the senior players have stepped up and from that you generate leadership which is a phenomenal thing,” said Vickerman, who is enjoying his first pre-season as a club player in four seasons, having returned to the 15-man game following a spell with the England Sevens at the turn of the year.

“As players you’ve also got to recognise that change can happen once a head coach comes in and we’re fortunate enough to have a good squad and young squad who are enthusiastic, but also recognise that procedures need to be met.

“So this week we have announced a player group voted for by the players and straight away you can see how leadership can have a positive impact to keep things moving, which is what we’re about.”

That greater responsibility amongst the players has created a strong bond as the countdown to the new Championship season – which kicks-off against Cornish Pirates on September 7 – intensifies.

Vickerman, the former England Sevens captain, said: “Once you start seeing it in training you start seeing meetings being held by other people and that transforms us as a leadership group and that’s what we want to have because when we’re on the pitch the coach isn’t there with you.

“There’s so much excitement within the squad and change brings that, change brings excitement and although there’ll be obvious questions about what might change structure wise, our main aim at the moment is to get fit and start playing well together as a team.”

Leeds became Yorkshire Carnegie on Wednesday.