YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE captain Ryan Burrows says his charges are “rejuvenated and refreshed” ready to kick-start their faltering Championship campaign.
He is among a raft of regulars who will return for Gary Mercer’s side against Aberavon in tomorrow’s British & Irish Cup Pool Two game at Hull Ionians.
They have been rested over the last fortnight when the club got that competition underway with a loss to Rotherham Titans and then won against Ulster in Belfast last Friday.
That was Yorkshire’s first victory in four games having also lost their previous Championship fixtures against Doncaster Knights and at Nottingham to be left struggling in ninth in the league.
Carnegie have no match after tonight until their next Championship game, a huge derby versus Rotherham at Headingley in a fortnight’s time.
Mercer needs his misfiring team to be ready for that and Burrows admitted: “It’s great to be back for Aberavon as I’ve had about three weeks off now.
“It was good to get a rest but we’ve around 14 guys back for this game and we’re all now rested, rejuvenated and ready to take up where the side left off last week.
“I stayed at home as we had four days off but they went well.
“Of course, you can pick over any performance but the biggest things for us right now is getting the victory.
“We just talk about winning this season – you can play really well and lose – and we just don’t care now how they come along, we just want to win.
“The lads showed some great glimpses last week and we want to build on that Saturday”
The powerful No8 believes fans will start seeing the best of Carnegie – who finished third last term but are still adapting to new coach Mercer after his arrival just a fortnight before the season’s start – in the weeks ahead.
“I think we are coming together now,” said Burrows.
“It has been a difficult start to the season. People might think we’re using it as an excuse but we had (forwards coaches) Tommy (McGee) and Dave (Baldwin) coaching us all through pre-season and then Gary coming in with some different ideas at the last minute.
“We’ve got new combinations playing together at nine and ten, too, but we are finally starting to gel.
“I think the break for the B&I Cup came at just the right time after that Nottingham game.
“We’re in the league position we are due to the way we have performed but the good thing is that doesn’t matter as it’s where you finish at the end and we know we can reach the top four.”
On Aberavon, the Welsh minnows they thrashed 72-0 on the way to last season’s B&I Cup final, he added: “We’ve not really looked at them that much.
“That’s probably a good thing. At the minute the key thing for us is getting our own performance right and, having played them last year, we know if we do that we won’t be too far off putting them to the sword.”
Now in his fourth campaign at the club following his move from Rotherham, he is relishing the chance to captain the side after Jacob Rowan’s move to Gloucester.
“It is new to me but I’m enjoying it, loving it in fact,” added the 26-year-old, who will represent the Championship XV against Canada a week Sunday.
“It has been difficult with the changes but there’s a lot of experience around me in people like Rob Vickerman, Jon Clarke and Chris Jones to throw things at and they’ve given me little bits of advice on captaincy.”