HIGHLY-RATED winger Jonah Holmes insists Yorkshire Carnegie can gain swift revenge over Bristol tonight and keep alive their hopes of a second successive British & Irish Cup final appearance.
He was a try-scorer as the club almost produced the shock of the season at Championship leaders Bristol last Sunday.
Carnegie led their big-spending hosts – who had won all 11 games so far – 28-10 with just 10 minutes remaining but then somehow contrived to lose 29-28 with the final kick of the game.
It was a heartbreaking defeat for Yorkshire, who now slip to ninth in the table, but they are back at Ashton Gate again this evening in the B&I Cup quarter-finals.
Holmes said: “It was gut-wrenching but all the boys admitted it was a great game to be part of in that we were back playing the sort of way we know we can – quick, high-tempo and some really good rugby.
“In the last 10 minutes, though, we lost the detail in our defence.
“We lacked focus and allowed them to score two pretty easy tries.
“With respect to Bristol, they took their opportunities well and did what they needed to do to get another win.
“But we know we handed it to them.”
Ex-Wasps player Holmes is unavailable for the re-match tonight having suffered a dead leg in the loss last week.
But he is hopeful Tommy McGee’s side can cause an upset to make the last four having been beaten finalists against Leinster A in Dublin last term.
“We’ve got a good squad going down and the boys are looking to up their game further,” said the 22-year-old.
“Whether it’s in the B&I Cup or not, we have got to improve.
“I imagine Bristol will be changing most of their side but they have the squad to do that.
“It would be awesome if we could repeat last year, get to the final again but win it this time.
“Any form of silverware is good for the club and we got bullied a bit last year against Leinster and didn’t perform.
“But we’ve to get past Bristol first if we want another shot.”
Holmes still insists Carnegie harbour hopes of breaking into the Championship top four despite their lowly position at the halfway point.
They lost late on at high-flying London Scottish 26-22 before the Bristol trip but with league games against Moseley and Jersey coming up next – both below them in the table – there is an opportunity to respond.
“It is always possible and that is the motivation for us,” said Holmes, who has scored eight tries in 11 games this term and hopes to be fit for the Moseley contest next Sunday.
“But we have to respect the opposition we’re playing.
“We are ninth now and 18 points behind Nottingham in fourth so we know it’s a big ask but we’ll take each game as it comes and hope we can still make those play-off spots.
“The key is to just keep improving.”