Performance key for Yorkshire Carnegie coach Lowes

PRAGMATIC Yorkshire Carnegie head coach James Lowes maintains he is not concerned if his side fail to secure British & Irish Cup quarter-final qualification today.

James Lowes.
James Lowes.

They complete their pool fixtures with a game against unbeaten group leaders Jersey Reds at Scarborough’s Silver Royd.

However, after losing 29-19 at London Scottish last week, Carnegie’s hopes of making the knockout stages are no longer in their own hands.

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The five pool winners plus three best runners-up go through and Yorkshire – despite three wins – are in an invidious spot.

Lowes said: “We’re in the worst position of the lot I reckon and old ‘JC’ would have to pull a few strings for us to go through if I’m honest.

“But at the moment I’m not bothered if we do or don’t. It’s out of our hands. I just want us to play well and perform.

“We did so in spurts last week against Scottish – played very well, in fact, at times – but we just let ourselves down with a couple of poor defensive errors.”

With recent freezing conditions, there will be a pitch inspection at 9.30am this morning to decide whether the game can go ahead.

Lowes says he has learned from previous mistakes in the competition such as naming a under-strength side when they lost 32-3 at Jersey in October.

“We took quite a young side out there and it was like rabbits in the headlights for some of them,” he recalled.

“They just weren’t ready for that. It was probably an error on my part not putting more senior blokes into that side.

“But we showed when we went out there in the league (Carnegie won 20-10 the following month) what we could do. They tried to bully us around again but weren’t able to with the senior guys then in. That was a big lesson as regards team selection.”

With that in mind, he makes eight changes this afternoon including bringing back Richard Mayhew, Ollie Stedman and Charlie Beech. Lock Matt Smith has overcome illness to replace Jack Whetton,

Chris Elder returns at full-back in place of George Watkins, Tom Bullough makes his third start of the season, whilst Pete Lucock and Will Homer combine in the halves.