NEWLY-APPOINTED Yorkshire Carnegie captain Richard Mayhew maintains the club’s disrupted pre-season schedule will not affect their start to the Championship campaign.
Last season’s beaten finalists announced earlier this week that they have withdrawn from their planned friendly at Gloucester next Friday due to a number of front-row injuries.
It means they will only face Leeds Beckett University in a private warm-up game before their league bid begins at London Scottish in a fortnight.
However, Auckland-born flanker Mayhew said: “There’s a lot of excitement about the place.
“Having that game cancelled pre-season has been frustrating but there’s been a lot of intensity in training where we’ve tried to replicate games.
“I don’t think it should be too much of a problem and pre-season this season has been a level up from last year.
“Obviously we’ve got a smaller squad but what we have got is looking pretty sharp.”
Mayhew has been named as the club’s new captain by James Lowes, who is back for his second stint as head coach having replaced Bryan Redpath for 2017-18.
With previous captain Ryan Burrows having joined Mayhew’s former club Newcastle Falcons in the summer, he is delighted to take on the role.
The 32-year-old, who impressed in his first season at Headingley, said: “I’ve done it a couple of times in my career but to do it from the start of the season and hopefully throughout is a real honour.
“I want to lead from front, do my job and hopefully get plenty of wins along the way.
“I had a really enjoyable season last year with a great group of lads who worked really hard.
“It was a bit frustrating at the end and we came just short but I have an opportunity to lead them now. It means a lot to me and am really honoured and excited to do so.”
Carnegie finished second last season behind leaders and favourites London Irish who they eventually lost to over two legs in the Championship final.
It meant they missed out on promotion back to the top-flight for a sixth successive season. With a reduced squad size and budget this term, their task is not going to get any easier either especially as big-spending Bristol are the team relegated to make way for Irish’s return.
Furthermore, this season, of course, also sees a return to the first-past-the-post format of promotion which will aid the west country side significantly.