MANY of Yorkshire Carnegie winger Seb Stegmann’s former London Welsh team-mates have been wondering whether they will even be paid this month but he insists that will not make them any less challenging today.
He returns to his old club looking to make it three wins from three for Carnegie’s promising Championship start.
Welsh, who were in the Premiership barely 18 months ago, have endured a difficult time off the field and faced a winding-up petition just two days after their opening day injury-time 33-32 defeat at Rotherham Titans.
Thankfully, after paying debts owed to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the famous old club avoided liquidation and are now set to be taken over by a United States-based investment group.
Stegmann, who helped Welsh win promotion in 2014, said: “I’m not sure exactly where they are at the moment. But I think there’s something in the pipeline and things are settling down.
“I’ve spoken to some of the guys there and it was frustrating for them when they weren’t getting paid but they were reassured things would get sorted.
“It will be tough for us down there; what’s been going on at the club will probably just make Welsh stronger and more determined to front up.
“It will be challenging but we’re excited by it.”
London-born Stegmann, 27, hopes to get back into the top-flight with Carnegie having started out his career at Harlequins.
Indeed, the former England Under 20s international scored three tries in eight appearances during Quins’ Premiership-winning campaign of 2011-12 before switching to Welsh in February 2013 and then to Headingley ahead of last season.
“I played the first year Welsh were in the Premiership which was great and then in the Championship when we won at Bristol to go up which was quality, too,” he recalled.
“Obviously the second season in the Premiership (Welsh lost all 22 games) was a completely different experience.
“There’s still about half the side I played with there and in the first two games they’ve looked pretty good.
“They’re showing that usual Welsh thing – big up front, forwards looking really sharp, while their backline has scored a few good team tries, too, especially when winning against London Scottish last week.
“They did really well against them and we can’t take them lightly.
“We’re just trying to focus on what we can do, though.”
Carnegie have opened with a 100 per cent record, winning 30-13 at Ealing Trailfinders before edging past Nottingham 26-24 on Sunday.
Stegmann said: “It’s early. We’re not saying it’s all good.
“We’ve won two from two but we’re not where we need to be.
“It’s been quite frustrating as there’s been times where chances have gone begging.
“We made last week a lot tougher for ourselves than we needed to but at least we came away with a win.
“On Saturday, we have to be switched on and our forward pack needs to show a bit more down there compared to the last two games; Welsh aren’t a team that will lighten up.
“We need to dominate our opposition and show what we can do.”
Stegmann scored six tries in 20 appearances during his debut campaign with Bryan Redpath’s Carnegie side who lost to Welsh during their last meeting in April’s British & Irish Cup final.
“I was happy with my first year here but I just wanted to get us at least to the Championship final against Bristol,” he recalled. It was hard not going any further than Doncaster in the semi.
“But I’ve really enjoyed the club. It’s a great set of lads and a fine set-up here, too, really professional for a Championship team. Pre-season was awesome and I got through that with no injuries so I’m raring to go.
“I just need to get my hands on the ball. It’s tough as if the forwards are on top we don’t touch it much and, if they’re not, and we do get the ball, we have to take the opportunity.
“It’s one shot really or we won’t see it again!”