Yorkshire Carnegie: Line-out is laying the platform for success says hooker Nilsen

Phil Nilsen
Phil Nilsen
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LONG-SERVING hooker Phil Nilsen believes Yorkshire Carnegie’s line-out work is helping to underpin their impressive start to the Championship season.

Bryan Redpath’s side have won all six games so far, their latest being Sunday’s hard-earned 35-28 success at Cornish Pirates, and trail leaders London Irish by just a point.

They break now for British & Irish Cup action for the next fortnight, visiting Championship rivals Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday, but do so knowing they are in good nick.

The set-piece has been particularly pleasing and Nilsen admitted: “Our hard work is really paying off.

“Teams are challenging us hard in the line-out; they know we have a pretty good drive and have scored a few tries from it.

“Teams are looking to try and stop it at source in the air but the lads are calling well, the detail’s going well and through the week we’re preparing really well which is showing on the field.”

Nilsen, 31, crossed himself on Sunday, his first of the season and only an 11th try since debuting in 2006-07.

“It was nice,” he said.

“We’ve been scoring a few off mauls recently so it was nice to get on the back of one after all the hard work from boys in front.

“It was really important to score at the start of the second period. The first half was a bit scrappy but we closed it out well with a try and said we needed a big start.

“It helped change momentum.”

It was a game of few chances but Carnegie were clinical with the opportunities they garnered in Penzance.

“That was really important,” continued Nilsen, who celebrated his testimonial last season and is now closing in on 200 games for the club, behind only Tom Palmer and Mike Shelley in the all-time appearance record.

“There’s nothing better than coming up from some hard work, whether a maul or scrum, and seeing the backline going forward on the front foot.

“It’s a lot better mentally for us and makes a big difference energy-wise, too.

“Confidence is high, too. We’ve had four tough away games already and we’re six from six.

“It was good to get a win on Sunday, too, as it’s always difficult down there – Cornish are a physical side, they’ve done quite well this season, there’s a lot of travelling involved and it’s a hard place generally.

“The game wasn’t perfect; there’s a lot of areas we want to work on.

“And it was probably our worst display of the year.

“But the attitude is great and we keep working, trying for each other and it shows as we ground the win out in the end.”

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