THE vast majority of his 120 appearances for Yorkshire Carnegie have come as a blindside flanker but, never too old to learn new tricks, Richard Beck is now thriving elsewhere.
He made the positional switch to No 8 just after Christmas and has now started at the back of the scrum in three of the club’s last four outings.
Beck’s leadership – he is Carnegie’s longest-serving player having debuted against Leicester Tigers in 2009 – line-out quality and excellent roaming work were some of the reasons why they were able to emerge from an invidious spot and beat Hartpury RFC on Sunday.
It seems the 28-year-old could be set for an extended stint at eight, having taken over from Ollie Stedman of late, something he will not mind in the slightest.
“It is really good,” said Beck, the Leeds-born forward who has been such a servant to their cause for almost a full decade.
“Obviously, it’s still quite new to me so I’m still sort of learning it a little bit as I go.
“But you get a lot more touches of the ball which I do enjoy. You get if off the scrum as well and there’s also some extra responsibility there, too.
“I am really enjoying it at the moment.”
Moreover, with talismanic No 8 Ryan Burrows joining Newcastle Falcons last summer, and other leading players heading for the Premiership amid budget cuts, he has become increasingly integral in a pack that has young rookies trying to make their way.
They were trailing for large periods against lowly Hartpury but managed to sneak a 20-16 win courtesy of Stevie McColl’s 71st-minute breakaway try.
“We brought it on ourselves really,” said Beck, who worked well in tandem with Kiwi openside Richard Mayhew.
“We were quite poor with the ball and kicked quite poorly so we just invited them on to us really.
“But we showed a lot of character defensively. We defended for large parts of that game especially in the last 20 minutes to keep them out.
“It was a bit disappointing with how we retained the ball. We’re giving it up too cheaply and we were bitty which is probably the story of our season, if I’m honest.
“We’ve been in a few of those scraps – games against Nottingham and Donny were similar – and we should be better than that. But at least we’re coming out on top and showing a lot of character to win.
“Now we’ll start building towards the next game at Cornish Pirates.”
Meanwhile, Carnegie full-back Chris Elder and openside Josh Bainbridge may be suspended depending on the result of a disciplinary meeting in Brighouse tonight.
The pair were cited by independent citing commissioner Liam McTieman, charged with allegedly tip-tackling Hartpury’s Iain Grieve, an incident that led to a penalty being awarded in the second half.
Former England Under 20s star Bainbridge, however, was replaced soon after due to a broken cheekbone that will now sideline him for six weeks.