Yorkshire Carnegie v Richmond: Patience required during transition period

INJURED: Yorkshire Carnegie captain, 'Richard Mayhew. Picture: Steve Riding.
INJURED: Yorkshire Carnegie captain, 'Richard Mayhew. Picture: Steve Riding.
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YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE director of rugby Chris Stirling maintains there will be no panic from his side as they bid to get their Championship campaign up and running tomorrow.

They opened with a disappointing 16-5 defeat at Hartpury and are looking for an instant response when Richmond arrive at Emerald Headingley.

However, New Zealander Stirling - who took over earlier this year - insists there has to be some patience, too, as he looks to implement his plans.

“If it’s one poor game, or two, or three, it’s just all steps to what we’re trying to achieve,” he said.

“Like I keep harping on to the players and management, what we’re looking at is something long-term and were building towards that.

“If we let one poor performance throw us off track we’ll never get to where we need to be.

“There will be ups and downs. But if we’re moving positively we’ll be fine.”

Stirling says the squad have worked hard in training this week to try and correct the deficiencies that were so apparent in Gloucestershire.

“It was an extremely disappointing start and the performance was definitely not what we were looking for,” he added.

“Certain aspects of it really did hurt us and most was our own doing.

Pete Lucock takes over as captain for Yorkshire Carnegie against Richmond on Sunday.

Pete Lucock takes over as captain for Yorkshire Carnegie against Richmond on Sunday.

“We didn’t execute the small stuff right and that did cost us.

“If I’d walked into the dressing room and seen laughing and joviality between the players afterwards I would have been concerned.

“But there was dead silence. The players knew exactly where they’d let themselves down and we’ve addressed it this week with some pretty heavy contact sessions and focusing on our body height where we were too high in carry, clean and tackle.”

Richmond, meanwhile, started out with an impressive 
24-19 derby success over London Scottish.

If we let one poor performance throw us off track we’ll never get to where we need to be ...

Carnegie director of rugby, Chris Stirling

Stirling said: “They’ve come off a very good first-up win and they’ll come full of confidence.

“We have to focus on what we do and fix the issues shown against Hartpury.

“I’m confident we will and go out and put in a performance out on the field.”

He described the signing this week of Bath lock Will Britton on dual-registration terms as “huge” with the 22-year-old starting against Richmond.

He replaces captain Richard Mayhew, who drops out with an ankle injury with Richard Beck switching to the back-row from lock.

Pete Lucock takes over as skipper but hooker Joe Buckle is ruled out with a head injury so Academy product Adam Brown comes in on the bench with the former Harrogate player hoping to make his debut, too.

Academy scrum-half Sam Wolstenholme could make his Championship bow having replaced Oli Fox among the replacements.

Marc Thomas (ankle), Harry Newborn (shin), Mike Myerscough (shoulder), Louis Brown (shoulder) and Jack Higginson (hamstring) all remain sidelined.

Meanwhile, Stirling says he held positive talks with the club this week about growing the size of his first-team squad.

“There was a fairly long meeting Tuesday afternoon with shareholders and investors and the consensus there was very positive,” said the former Hurricanes performance chief.

“They’re supporting the ideas and programmes and plans I’ve put in place.

“It’s going to get signed off by the board hopefully in the near future and then away we go; we’ll see the squad strengthened throughout this season building towards the 2019-20 campaign as well.”

Richmond and Carnegie shared wins over each other last term – both coming at their respective home grounds – but the visitors will have to work hard for a victory tomorrow given Carnegie lost just twice at Headingley in 2017-18.

Richmond flanker Jesse Liston said: “Although our first game went well, there are definitely areas for improvement.

“Our penalty count was too high and we had to rely a lot on our defence to win that game.”