AS MUCH as he relished going toe-to-toe with an All Black for 80 minutes, Yorkshire Carnegie’s Richard Beck knows his side need to be far more competitive if they are to hold their own in the Championship.
The blindside flanker pitted himself against ex-New Zealand international Steven Luatua when his side fell 44-14 against leaders Bristol on Friday.
Luatua, who also played No6, has made 15 Test appearances for the world champions, the last of which was only last year, and also featured with the Blues when they beat the British Lions in Auckland this summer.
He joined Bristol this season after their relegation from the Premiership and now, as captain, is leading their bid to make an immediate return.
Luatua, 26, was one of nine internationals in their side that, among others, also included Argentina prop Gaston Cortes, Ireland fly-half Ian Madigan and two-try former Wallabies winger Luke Morahan.
Bristol maintained their 100 per cent winning record this season and Leeds-born Beck said: “For me, personally, I was obviously against Steven Luatua who is an All Black. It’s good for me, I enjoyed every minute of it playing against him and going up against him.
“It was good and I enjoyed the challenge. He’s a good player, isn’t he? But you raise your game for that and look forward to playing those sorts of guys. I’d like to play against him every week.
“But we want to compete harder against them than what we did. We need to give ourselves more chance to compete. We let them out too easily really.
“I think in patches we showed we could compete and we got the better of them but we were just too inconsistent.
“Any mistakes they just jumped on and they are too good a team with too many good players. They just took advantage of that. We have got to be more clinical against better teams.”
You raise your game for that and look forward to playing those sorts of guys. I’d like to play against him every week.Yorkshire Carnegie’s Richard Beck
Carnegie – back in action at 10th placed Jersey this Saturday – started well against their star-studded opponents but could not garner any points for all their pressure.
Instead, the first time they came under real scrutiny, ex-Samoa centre Tusi Pisi slipped through some non-existent defence to score Bristol’s opener in the 15th minute and there was then no looking back for the West Country side.
“We probably needed to take some of those chances early and then we defended a bit soft after that,” added the 28-year-old Beck.
“We conceded two tries which we gave them too easily – they didn’t really have to work for them. You have to make teams as good as Bristol work hard for their points and we just didn’t do that.”
One positive for Carnegie was when, via Beck, they scored arguably the best try of the night after a multi-phase effort that showed just how precise, direct and clinical they can be.
“That’s what we’re capable of but we just have to look after the ball more,” he said.
“I don’t think we did it consistently enough. We either kicked poorly or put in a handling error.”
Carnegie, who have slipped to seventh, visit a Jersey side who easily won 45-14 at bottom-placed Rotherham Titans last weekend.
“They are a big, physical side so there’s no better game for us to get into,” added Beck. “We can just go over there, be real physical and not worry about the rugby side of it, just get on the pitch and be real physical.
“We spoke about that immediately after the Bristol loss and it’s just the sort of game we need.”