Bonus for Stir­ling as Carnegie show their qual­i­ties

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - RUGBY UNION - ALEX MILLER AT EMER­ALD HEAD­IN­G­LEY ■ Email: yp.sport@ypn.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @YPS­port

YORK­SHIRE CARNEGIE 24 RICH­MOND 7 CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

YORK­SHIRE CARNEGIE boss Chris Stir­ling praised the com­mit­ment of his side yes­ter­day af­ter a last-minute try gave them a bonus point vic­tory over a bel­liger­ent Rich­mond.

Strid­ing into a now-im­pos­ing Emer­ald Sta­dium where they suf­fered only two de­feats dur­ing the 2017/18 sea­son, York­shire’s task was to reignite the op­ti­mism sur­round­ing the New Zealan­der af­ter an open­ing-day de­feat at Hart­pury that the man him­self had ren­dered “ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing”.

Speak­ing af­ter yes­ter­day’s vic­tory he said: “The com­po­sure the guys showed to go the length of the field and get a bonus point says a lot about the char­ac­ter of the team,

“One thing about this bunch of young men that you can’t ques­tion is the level of their com­mit­ment and de­sire.

“I’m a pretty hard man to please, but I’ve got a bit of a smile on my face be­cause we’ve got five points af­ter not get­ting a point on the board in the open­ing week. We can’t do any more than that.”

His play­ers wasted no time in get­ting their home form started and af­ter sus­tained early pres­sure in the cor­ner, No 8 Dan Temm crashed through a light­weight Rich­mond mid­field to gift Brendan Cope a sim­ple con­ver­sion af­ter just six min­utes.

Ap­pre­hen­sion set­tled, Carnegie set about at­tempt­ing to con­trol the fix­ture in wors­en­ing han­dling con­di­tions.

A hand­some veil of rain proved re­lent­less through­out the first half and part-time Rich­mond ini­tially gave as good as they got as the match be­came an en­ergy- sap­ping bat­tle up front. With­out their in­jured cap­tain Richard Hay­hew, Richard Beck was moved into the back row to give dual-reg­is­tered Bath young­ster Will Brit­ton his de­but at lock.

The 22-year-old has spo­ken of his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the phys­i­cal side of the game in the build-up to the match and pro­duced a per­for­mance to il­lus­trate the fact.

In­deed, the en­tire pack pro­duced a re­sponse to crit­i­cism of York­shire’s ef­forts at the break­down last time out.

Stir­ling said: “We chose to­day to be more con­testable than go for ter­ri­tory and I think that it paid div­i­dends at times.

“Our phys­i­cal­ity in the carry, the clean and the tackle, we had a pres­ence and we were far bet­ter to­day. I wouldn’t say we were to­tally dominant, but we were a long way for­ward from last week when we were dom­i­nated.”

But the first half was far from a clas­sic. Pos­ses­sion was traded with reg­u­lar­ity, han­dling er­rors from both sides dom­i­nat­ing a poor first half, and the crowd of 1,500 were gifted the sweet re- lease of half-time with the score jack-knifed at 7-0.

Rich­mond’s ef­forts were not aided by kicker Rob Kirby, whose form whilst ac­cru­ing 13 points in their win over Lon­don Scot­tish last week was not car­ried over.

Mo­ments af­ter the break his missed penalty was pun­ished by York­shire, who crossed over through full-back Chris El­der af­ter a classy cross-field kick by Brendan Cope.

It was the sort of in­ci­sive move that Stir­ling is hop­ing to see more of as the side grows into his three­year plan to climb back into the top divi­sion.

“We’re two games into what I’ve called a 24-month or 36-month sea­son. All we’re try­ing to do is build a foun­da­tion for where we need to be in about 24 months time when hope­fully we’ll be top of the heap.

“If we can add ac­cu­racy into our at­tack, we’re go­ing to test an aw­ful lot of teams.”

Af­ter a toil­ing first half, the match came alive on 50 min­utes as Rich­mond struck back with a con­verted Luc Jones try.

As it hap­pened, any pres­sure from the Lon­don out­fit was far too fleet­ing as the su­pe­rior fit­ness of full-time Carnegie showed.

Dan Moor’s sec­ond try in as many matches es­sen­tially put the re­sult be­yond doubt and from there the match be­came about whether York­shire would get their bonus point.

That they did, se­cured by Academy-grad­u­ate debu­tant Sam Wosten­holme as he darted over in the cor­ner in the last play of the game.

“There was some good, there was some not so good and there was some okay,” said Stir­ling.

“This place can be­come a fortress, but that won’t hap­pen by talk­ing about it, we need to put that to­gether with hard work.

“We’ve got to build that,” he added.

PIC­TURE: TOM BANKS

CRUNCH TACKLE: There is no way through for York­shire Carnegie’s Pete Lu­cock as he gets trapped in a dou­ble tackle.

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