HOOKER Mike Mayhew has been urged to make the most of his long-awaited chance when Yorkshire Carnegie square up to Bedford in the British and Irish Cup today.
Mayhew is set for his first Yorkshire start after scoring two tries on his debut as a replacement last week. The Auckland-born player joined the club in the off-season from London Irish and has also played in this country for Newcastle.
A calf problem and the form of Ross Graham and Phil Nilsen has held him back and coach Bryan Redpath believes today’s tie is an ideal opportunity for him to show what he can do.
“This is now a chance for him to put his hand up,” said Redpath. “He was brought in, with his physical size, to bolster the scrum and bolster a bit of physicality for us.
“He has had to earn the right and wait for his turn because Ross and Phil have played pretty well. He is a player who should be chomping at the bit to put a performance in.”
Today’s game, being staged at Selby, comes a week after a
51-35 defeat at Ealing Trailfinders ended Yorkshire’s six-game winning start to the season. Redpath was alarmed by the number of points conceded in west London and is looking for a tighter defensive effort this afternoon.
“I’ve watched Bedford’s last three or four games and they’ve always been a very good attacking side,” he said. “Most of their games are reasonably high scoring.
“We have to be extremely disciplined defensively and also very controlled when we have the ball. When you cough up a simple turnover, a loose pass, poor kick, they are a side that can punish you.”
Mayhew’s inclusion is one of five changes in the pack, with Lee Imiolek and Rob O’Donnell starting at prop and Ryan Burrows and Richard Mayhew – brother of Mike – recalled in the back-row.
Stevie McColl returns at full-back and Redpath has challenged his team to “right some wrongs” from last week. “There’s some changes, but not necessarily drastic,” he said. “I believe in the group. I think the group need to repay each other and put in a performance against Bedford.”