New-look Carnegie are in no rush to replace Lowes

Rob Vickerman, Fred Burdon, Ryan Burrows and Chris Jones sporting the new Yorkshire Carnegie kit. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
Rob Vickerman, Fred Burdon, Ryan Burrows and Chris Jones sporting the new Yorkshire Carnegie kit. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
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Sir Ian McGeechan says the new Yorkshire Carnegie will not be rushed into appointing the rebranded club’s first head coach.

The official launch of Yorkshire Carnegie took place yesterday with a new royal blue kit with a white rose crest the most striking change about the whole operation.

The rest remains very much the remnants of the old Leeds Carnegie, with the investment not yet in place to help the new brand realise their long-term ambition of being the county’s best chance at sustainable and successful Premiership rugby.

McGeechan says substantial investment will hopefully be realised within three months with the aim being to have people from across the region bringing money into the club.

A new board of shareholders and owners will be created when the investment is sourced and approved.

Carnegie want between £2m and £4m to help them build an integrated system that begins at school level and goes all the way through the academy system into Yorkshire’s first team and, in exceptional cases, into the England team.

The first stage of that – developing scholarship programmes in schools across Yorkshire and strengthening the regional development programme – has been in motion since Carnegie announced in February their intentions to rebrand in an effort to harness the best resources in White Rose rugby.

The club also confirmed they have a squad of 35 players ready for next season – with the one obvious hole to fill being that of head coach.

Carnegie began pre-season late last month without a head coach after James Lowes quit to take up the top job at Bradford Bulls. That was 17 days ago, but McGeechan – who along with chief executive Gary Hetherington will have the final say on the appointment – insists there is no timeframe on naming Lowes’s successor.

“We’re leaving it open at the moment, we’ve had 18 to 20 names put forward to us which is good,” said McGeechan, the club’s excecutive chairman, who has been overseeing pre-season training.

“Chris Gibson (director of rugby) will then look through that and we’ll draw up a shortlist.

“But it has to be someone who is part of the ethos we want. Diccon Edwards and then Jimmy last year took on the type of rugby environment we wanted to create and we want to keep on developing. We want somebody to take that on. It has to be the right character with the right chemistry.

“We’re in no rush, we’ve now got the names and Chris will come back to us with the shortlist and we’ll take it from there.

“There’s an interesting mix of applicant. It gives us a little bit of thinking to do. You might see someone at a game and like them but then you speak to them and see what their philosophy is, strengths and weaknesses are, and how that fits the bill for what we want.”

McGeechan and Hetherington both stated they were happy with the level of interest in Yorkshire Carnegie from prospective investors.

“It’s been encouraging,” said McGeechan. We’ve got a lot of interested people.”

McGeechan added that the success of Yorkshire Carnegie is not wholly dependent on that income being attained, because the structures are already being put in place, but if it is to be a success, then it does need financial support from across the region.

“As the Yorkshire business spectrum gets wider it will give us that opportunity,” he said.

Sir Ian McGeechan was taken unwell in New Zealand.

Yorkshire's Sir Ian McGeechan taken to hospital in New Zealand