Yorkshire Carnegie captain Ryan Burrows says the arrival of Bryan Redpath has emboldened the players as they make a late dash for the Championship play-offs.
Burrows, 26, has had to shoulder greater responsibility this season with the Carnegie squad enduring a trying season in which they have worked under a number of head coaches.
They ended the last campaign thinking James Lowes was the man to take them forward, only for him to depart in June. Burrows was then one of a number of leading players who stepped up during pre-season before Gary Mercer took charge six days before their first game.
Then Tommy McGee took over when Mercer left and even Lions legend Sir Ian McGeechan has taken charge of a game.
But now former Sale and Gloucester chief Redpath is in situ – and with a winning start to his name following the victory against Plymouth last Saturday. Now, ahead of Redpath’s Headingley bow against Jersey on Sunday, Burrows says he and the players have rediscovered their appetite.
“It was certainly a big appointment. He’s one of the biggest names in rugby with a big record of working at the top level,” said Cleckheaton-born Burrows, who as ever, is one of the club’s candidates for player of the season.
“And it’s been great for the squad. Everyone has dug in and listened to what he has had to say.
“The good thing for us as players is that he’s very knowledgable at the top level.
“The biggest thing we’ve noticed in training is his attention to detail; for instance the detail of whose doing what in set moves and making sure we’re running the right lines.
“These are the things you take for granted in a training session and on the field of play, but when you get them wrong on the field of play that’s when mistakes creep in.”
Burrows and the team have often been caught between a rock and a hard place this season; their attacking instincts and the defensive resolve Mercer tried to drum into them.
But Redpath, the 43-year-old former Scotland international, has brought a mix of the two.
“He still wants us to play our brand of rugby that we know that we can play,” said Burrows.
“He’s brought in a different focus in terms of him actually having been in the Premiership for the last few years. He’s brought in that Premiership mentality.
“It’s probably a good thing that he’s not got any experience of the Championship, that way he’s not got any pre-conceived ideas about teams and it places the emphasis on us focusing more on what we’re doing and nothing else.
“Bryan’s not tried to amend too much. He’s probably tweaked a few things here and there.
“He’s come in from day one and seen the rugby that we like to play and given us the freedom to do that, whilst not neglecting the defensive side which we still have to stay on top of.
“And Franny Cummings has been doing some great work with us in that area also.”
As for their top-four chances, Burrows said: “Bryan came in saying the top four, but ever since he’s sat us down it’s always been about the next game.
“We have got to win every game and treat every one like a cup final and not rely on other teams.”