WELSH INTERNATIONAL prop Craig Mitchell insists rejoining Yorkshire Carnegie is not a gamble.
Carnegie will go into today’s game at Coventry (3pm) bottom of the Championship, having lost seven of their eight games so far.
They were beaten 70-5 at London Irish a fortnight ago and 17-5 at home to London Scottish last week, when Mitchell made his return.
The current situation is probably the toughest in the club’s history, but Mitchell has not doubt Carnegie will come good.
“There’s huge talent here,” said the 32-year-old, whose previous clubs include Ospreys, Exeter Chiefs, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons.
“I definitely believe in the squad. That’s why I wanted to come when I got offered the chance. I like the club, I like the style of play and I’m confident we’ll move up the league.”
Mitchell made six appearances for Carnegie at the end of last season before joining Newcastle Falcons. He has returned initially on loan, but the deal will be extended to the end of the season.
He said: “It’s good to be back. It’s frustrating with the position we are in and the loss [against Scottish], but we are ready to fight.
“We are a team that doesn’t give up and we are ready to push forward to move up that league.”
New Zealand recruits fly-half Jade Te Rure and flanker Antonio Kiri Kiri are set to make their debut today and Mitchell reckons Carnegie have the players to pull clear of the relegation zone.
“There’s boys returning from injury as well which is a positive,” he said. “And the boys we’ve got, we are confident in their ability. It’s just the execution, we’re not where we want to be at the moment.”
Against Scottish Carnegie trailed 12-0 after 13 minutes, but conceded only one unconverted try for the rest of the game.
That defensive effort, in particular, has given Mitchell belief things will improve sooner rather than later.
“We know we can do it,” he insisted. “It’s just those little slip offs and those little five- or 10-minute spells we tend to go through.
“There’s no such thing as a perfect game in rugby and unfortunately at the moment we are going through it.”
Coventry are eighth in the Championship, with three wins from eight games. A Carnegie victory today, in their last league game before Christmas, could prove a turning point according to Mitchell.
“The boys are working hard through the week,” he added. “The coaches are working hard with the prep’, it’s just the execution.
“That ball goes to hand and we’re through, but unfortunately [last week] a couple went behind.”
With Te Rure set to start today, Chris Elder will move to full-back and Louis Brown on to the wing. Scrum-half JB Bruzulier comes into the starting line-up for Olly Fox who is named on the bench.
Kiri Kiri starts at flanker, replacing Elliot Ward who suffered a fractured arm against Scottish.
Hooker Marc Thomas has recovered from Achilles damage and will make his first appearance of the season.
Matt Smith also returns from injury.
Yorkshire Carnegie (at Coventry): Elder, Watkins, Forsyth, Lucock, Brown, Te Rure, Bruzulier, Thomas, Buckle, Mitchell, Myerscough, Smith, Kiri Kiri, Bainbridge, Temm. Replacements Gibbings, Foster, Ilnicki, Frost, Brown, Fox, Bullough.