EX-LEICESTER Tigers centre Andy Forsyth hopes to lend his experience to a youthful Yorkshire Carnegie side as they start their British & Irish Cup campaign in Jersey tonight.
The 27-year-old is one of the few older heads in their backline as they seek to make up for Saturday’s disappointing Championship loss at Richmond.
Head coach Jimmy Lowes has brought in a raft of youngsters including teenage fly-half Harry Davey plus young wingers Tom Bullough and Rian Hamilton.
Indeed, after the recent announcement of a new three-year partnership with Leeds Beckett University, a total of 13 players who have emerged from the club’s Academy are included in the matchday 22.
Davey gets a chance with both half-backs – Alex Davies (wrist) and Callum Irvine (ankle) – unusually lost to injury inside the opening 18 minutes at Richmond.
Forsyth said: “He’s looked sharp in training. He’s a good player and it will be good to see him play at first-team level.
“We’ve got a good Academy team and this is a great chance for some of those boys to play alongside some first-team players and get some experience.
“I seem to be four years older than everyone else. I’m the old man now yet it wasn’t long ago I was one of those younger ones!
“Hopefully I’ll be able to help them stay composed as there will be some nerves in there and I can be the calm head to keep things steady if needed.
“It’s a good opportunity to get back playing after last week and get back to winning ways.”
With scrum-half Will Homer concussed against Cornish Pirates the week before, Carnegie have not had much luck in the playmaker roles.
“We’ve had a few mishaps with our halves now in the last two games but that happens and we can’t use it as an excuse,” said Forsyth, with No9 Max Green back from a three-week suspension to ease matters.
“We’ve a good enough squad to adapt. We just didn’t help ourselves across the board with stupid mistakes that gave Richmond a chance and then we ended up playing catch-up. We were our own worst enemies.
“We’ll look to improve at Jersey. It is a great place to play; the atmosphere is great, the support is always really good and it’s a nice pitch. It looks like the weather will be decent so hopefully we can play some rugby.”
Forsyth played for Sandal as a junior, attended QEGS in Wakefield and came through the Carnegie academy before moving to Leicester where, when just 19, he memorably played in the Tigers side that defeated world champions South Africa.
He recalled: “It was awesome down at Leicester.
“Obviously they had quite a few international players and I managed to pick up quite a few good tips from them.
“The centres were Aaron Mauger and Dan Hipkiss, people like that. It was great to see how they held themselves around the place and how they approached things. I’d like to think I brought those habits back to Carnegie to pass on to the younger lads here.”
Back-row Lewis Wilson returns having played for Hull Ionians last week while, on the bench, hooker Harry Newborn has impressed with Leeds Beckett as has England Under-19s back-row Elliot Ward.
England Under-18s international Oliver Fox has been playing with Huddersfield and was travelling reserve at Richmond.