LONG-SERVING Richard Beck has signed a new deal with Yorkshire Carnegie revealing his belief the club can win back a place in the Premiership was central to his decision.
The experienced back-row committing his future at Emerald Headingley for another season is a welcome boost for James Lowes’ side who have seen numerous top players leave in recent times.
Indeed, second-row Ben West confirmed yesterday that he will join tonight’s opponents Ealing Trailfinders in 2018-19, following Carnegie colleague Ollie Stedman who made the same move in February.
They lost the likes of Ryan Burrows, Lewis Boyce, Joe Ford and Jonah Holmes to Premiership clubs last summer with the playing budget slashed for this term.
With that in mind, Carnegie have competed relatively well but there was still plenty of uncertainty around plans for next season.
However, the recent capture of highly-rated performance coach Chris Stirling from Wellington-based Super Rugby side The Hurricanes as the club’s new director of rugby has helped assuage doubts.
It’s quite exciting times for the club. Bringing him in – and seeing everything he wants to do and the goals he’s setting – it is great to see.Carnegie’s Richard Beck on new performance coach, Chris Stirling
Beck told The Yorkshire Post: “He’s aiming for us to be back in the Premiership and he wouldn’t have come here if he didn’t think that was possible.
“It’s quite exciting times for the club. Bringing him in – and seeing everything he wants to do and the goals he’s setting – it is great to see. People were worried over the last few months. They haven’t announced people re-signing, there was talk of reduced budgets and all that sort of stuff again but bringing him in as director of rugby is a real positive.
“It’s one of the reasons I’m definitely staying and have signed a new contract. I’m glad to be a part of that. He has so much experience and it is a bit of a statement that the club is still going for Premiership rugby.”
Leeds-born Beck, 28, has spent his entire career at Headingley and is desperate to help them eventually return to the top-flight for the first time since 2011.
Ealing, the only side to really chase Bristol this term, are investing to have another crack next season with London Irish – after just one season back in the Premiership – looking likely to be joining them in the Championship.
Meanwhile, Carnegie’s hopes of claiming third spot behind promoted Bristol and Ealing, suffered a blow with Saturday’s shock 30-26 derby loss at relegated Rotherham Titans.
They are now down to sixth with only tonight’s rearranged match and the visit of London Scottish remaining.
“We got off to a good start and probably should have made more of our opportunities in the first half,” said Beck, as Rotherham picked up only their second league win all campaign.
“We started the second period well, too, but then they got a bit of a roll on. We were pretty loose on the ball and that just fed their enthusiasm.
“The crowd got behind them and they became difficult to stop. There was still chances to win it at the end but we came up short.
“It will be tough again against Ealing. We had a small squad to start with but we picked up a few injuries on Saturday.
“It is unusual playing two games in four days and I think our strength and conditioning staff are a bit nervous. But we’ve done it before a few years ago and at least we’re at home. We didn’t have much travelling to do Saturday with it being Rotherham and Ealing have to come up from London.
“And it’s a good thing it’s a short turnaround really; the lads want to put things right straight away.”
Lowes makes five changes with fly-half Pete Lucock (knee) and winger Louis Brown (shoulder) injured at Rotherham.
Winger George Watkins comes back in, loosehead Charlie Beech and flanker Josh Bainbridge are promoted to the starting XV and teenage full-back/centre Tom Mann could debut off the bench.
Ealing beat Hartpury 54-36 at the weekend but make changes given a British & Irish Cup semi-final against Bedford Blues also looms for them on Saturday.