SOUTH AFRICAN fly-half Warren Seals realises he has to grasp every opportunity he gets with Yorkshire Carnegie.
The player, who joined from part-timers Darlington Mowden Park in the summer, gets a rare chance to feature when lining up against the Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select side during today’s British & Irish Cup game in Wales.
It will only be Seals’ fifth game of the campaign for Carnegie where the form of former Sale Sharks No10 Joe Ford – brother of England star George – has seen him have to bide his time.
However, he returned from a loan spell back at National One club Mowden Park to help Carnegie narrowly beat the Welsh side 20-17 at Pontefract last Sunday and gets the nod again for today’s swift rematch in Pool Five.
“It was good last week,” said Seals, whose appearances have all come in the B&I Cup aside from a Championship replacement cameo against Rotherham at the start of October.
“The game didn’t quite go how we thought it would but it was nice to be back, get some good game-time and a win.
“All I can do is when I do get the chance to play, is play as well as I possibly can and help the team out. Obviously, we’ve got a team goal to go up to the Premiership and I want to help in way I can. Joe (Ford) is playing some really good rugby at the moment; he’s got a lot of experience and I’m learning a lot from him.
“I don’t really see us as rivals as such, more as team-mates pushing each other, and I’m looking forward to getting another shot against the Dragons on Saturday.”
With Carnegie flying high in the Championship – only London Irish sit above them – they can also take a big step towards qualifying for the B&I Cup quarter-finals today.
Seals, 24, said: “Playing on a 3G pitch will make it slightly different to last Sunday’s game at Pontefract but hopefully it will be a bit smoother under foot and make it easier to play the way we want to.
“As long as we cut out a few of the mistakes back then, and keep hold of the ball better, we should be able to deliver an all-round better performance.”
He has signed a 12-month contract at Headingley but hopes to do enough to earn a new deal.
“I came over to England halfway through last season – last November – to play with Darlington so have been here just over a year now,” added Seals, who played for Western Province’s Under 19s Currie Cup side and went on to feature for University of Cape Town.
“I’m enjoying it. Carnegie is obviously a step up from Darlington and National League One. That’s obvious as they’re full-time players here and everyone can concentrate on their rugby whereas in National League One you might have seven or eight good players in a side and a few who are not quite the same standard.
“Here, there’s 22 every week, really good rugby players in every position and that helps raise the standard. I’ll take it as it comes and see what happens at the end of the season. I don’t need to look at that just yet but I would like to carry on here.”
Carnegie make six changes to their line up for today’s clash.
Second row Guy Borrowdale is handed a place in the starting XV this week. Lewis Boyce starts at loose head while prop Gary Robertson makes his first start. Mike Mayhew will start at hooker and number eight Brandon Staples comes in for his debut.
The only change in the back line sees centre Max Wright start instead of Andy Forsyth.