Yorkshire Carnegie: a Club in Crisis

Yorkshire Carnegie: a Club in Crisis
LEEDS, ENGLAND - MAY 17: Alex Davies of Leeds Carnegie in action during the Greene King IPA Championship Final: First Leg match between Leeds Carnegie and London Irish at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on May 17, 2017 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

After being struck by a financial crisis towards the end of last season, the former Premiership side Yorkshire Carnegie took the drastic decision to go part-time, with many players and staff leaving Headingley.

Charlie Hynes takes a look at a few pertinent points for the club.

Recruitment process difficult for Yorkshire Carnegie club

With the club still looking to pay medical bills and players wages from last season, player recruitment has been a difficult process, pulling players from many different backgrounds to form a squad in time for the new season. A number of university players and a few Premiership quality players have been called upon in the form of all-time top try-scorer Tom Varndell, and Bath lock Mike Williams [on loan].

Yorkshire Carnegie started their season with an 83-0 thrashing from Nottingham in the Championship Cup with their full team of debutants. This may give the side an idea of what they could be in for this season. Thankfully for the Headingley based side they avoided a points deduction from the RFU, after the CVA was approved to give them a fighting chance in the Championship.

Having to live with ‘Noisy Neighbours’

The club has never been able to reach the same heights as their rugby league counterparts Leeds Rhinos in the modern era, with the Super League side being at the top of the English game. League has been a more common occurrence up North than union with a larger following perhaps being the reason Carnegie have struggled to capture the imagination.

Carnegie have not been able to attract top-class players due to them not being able to generate the funds of bigger clubs. They have also been unable to keep hold of stars such as Danny Care and Luther Burrell, as well as coach Stuart Lancaster from the Leeds Tykes days.

Re-building from the ground up

This rebuilding process will take years with their main priority becoming financially secure and continuing to blood their talented academy with former premiership stars that can keep them afloat for the time being.

Yorkshire Carnegie will look to eventually reach the heights of the Premiership once again when they were Leeds Carnegie and look to be a force in northern rugby again as they were in the original Headingley RUFC days. With a number of international players, most famously Scotland and Lions legend Ian McGeechan being the standard of pedigree that the prestigious club dealt with.

The introduction of the likes of Varndell and Williams is an important move for the club’s hopes, as they bring experience from the very top level of English rugby. The mentoring role they can provide to the young players will help the likes of Director of Rugby Martyn Wood, and head coach Joe Ford, all inspire their players to produce what many fans and pundits believe is not possible.

Yorkshire management a Family affair

Ford is in at the deep end for his first coaching role. There is little expectation due to their financial state, with Ford likely to give his players a license to play an attacking style of rugby. The Ford family are shown to be a tight unit and leadership runs in the family with father Mike having reached a Premiership final and George being an important leader in the England and Leicester Tigers set up.

Yorkshire Carnegie will hope that the Wood/Ford era will be able to be kick-started with their first championship game. The duo will have to be at their best to inspire the part-time side with only two training days a week and no fixed strength and conditioning set up in place.

Yorkshire will hope to get back on track not only with their form but back to where they belong among the powerhouses of northern rugby.

 

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