Cornish Pirates v Yorkshire Carnegie: Chirs Stirling hopes Carnegie can turn the corner soon – but not this weekend
The Kiwi was director of rugby at Emerald Headingley last season and had ambitions of returning them to the Premiership before the money ran out and they ended up on their knees.
As Carnegie’s entire squad broke up and they headed for a CVA, Stirling took up an offer to return to Cornish Pirates where he had initially worked as high performance manager from 2009 to 2012.
Reformed Carnegie, still without a victory in 2019-20 and on the end of numerous heavy beatings having moved to a part-time status, head to Penzance tomorrow in the Championship Cup.
Stirling said: “I’ve still got some really good friends up there and I met some neat people.
“It’s not the club’s fault what happened; there’s a lot of history and you have to commend what they’re trying to do in the sense of keeping it going and looking at the possibility of what might happen in the future.
“I keep in touch with certain people and I’m looking forward to hosting them on Sunday.
“I hope they do get a win but not this weekend.
“To be honest, I haven’t really looked at their squad of late.
“I’ve seen the side named today and there’s quite a few names I don’t recognise.
“I’d like to think they’re making progress and we’ll be taking them seriously.
“We got touched up by Nottingham in the Cup last week and we’d already beaten them twice before this season so we know things can change.
“So, I’d like to see Carnegie get a win or two or at least turn a corner.
“But I’m more than happy for that to happen the week after.”
Cornish are up to third in the Championship table and Stirling, who took them to the play-off final in 2011, said: “Personally, it’s been good. I’ve settled back in, I know the area, of course, and it’s familiar so that’s good.
“We’re at the start of a development, growth period and we’ve started pretty well.
“We’ve had a couple of losses but that was always going to happen when you’re trying different things and testing the depth of our squad.
“But it’s been good so far.”
Cornish have won two of four contests in the Cup so know another victory tomorrow will enhance their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.
Carnegie, who lost 53-14 against pool leaders London Scottish last week, have made seven changes.
Dan Lancaster and Joe Green are promoted into the starting line-up after coming on from the bench last week.
Winger James Magee, part of the Yorkshire Rugby Academy and who played for Newcastle Falcons XV against Stirling County last month, is set for his debut.
Ben Sowrey returns as captain and Gareth Smith comes back into the team. Ben Carlile, who is also part of the Yorkshire Rugby Academy, comes in for his debut and the final change sees Alex Humfrey replace William Smith for his tenth appearance of the season.
On the bench, ex-Sheffield Tigers player Tainne Finn is also in the mix to make his first appearance for the club.