THE BARE minimum expected from Yorkshire Carnegie at Jersey today is a level of competitiveness that, according to their forwards coach Steve Boden, has deserted them of late.
They head over to the Channel Island to face one of his former clubs in need of a positive result after back-to-back Championship defeats.
Admittedly, those losses were at second-placed Ealing Trailfinders and, then, last week, against unbeaten leaders Bristol.
However, in conceding 44 points against each, both displays have been deemed simply not good enough.
Boden says the squad have taken responsibility, though, and the ex-Doncaster Knights and Jersey hooker conceded: “A lot was said after that Bristol game, and it was from the players themselves more than the coaches.
“It’s been going back onto them from themselves. They’ve spoken about the errors made but how they’re at their best when they go out simply being tough to beat.
“We’ve struggled to be that these last two games.
“You can have as many defensive systems and plans in place as you want but as a squad you have to choose to put your bodies on the line.
“Against Bristol, they didn’t have to work hard to break us down and that’s what we’ve needed to look at but it’s more down to working hard than anything else.
“The players are the ones who came up with that last week and they have to fix it on the day; coaches put a plan in place but the players have to go out and put their bodies on the line and I’m pretty sure you’ll see a better performance on Saturday.”
They will need it to be against an improving Jersey team who, though down in tenth place in the table, have picked up recently, following up a 20-15 win over London Scottish with a 45-14 success at Rotherham Titans last week.
“They’re a different side at home, too,” said Leeds-born Boden, who left his role as Jersey forwards coach to return to Headingley 18 months ago.
“They get up for the occasion a bit more and the crowd’s very vocal.
“It’s often difficult there; the conditions can play a part as it can be windy and wet which can slow teams down while they’re pretty clinical on their own turf.
“They’ve got a good kicking game and have a big forward pack along with a backline that is pretty direct, too.
“If you arrive there and you’re not mentally set for it they can cause you a lot of problems.
“I still know a few people out there and it’ll be good to catch up with them although it’d be nicer if we got the win.”
Carnegie make just one change to their starting line-up with Fred Burdon, who made his first appearance last week since his return from Newcastle Falcons, starting at centre in place of the sidelined Chris Elder (knee).
Fellow centre Andy Forsyth comes in to take Burdon’s place on the bench after he missed the Bristol game due to an injury.