Yorkshire Carnegie: Casson has confidence in top-two aspirations
FORMER Harlequins star Tom Casson is eager to make up for lost time in Yorkshire Carnegie colours.
He returned from the latest spell on the sidelines with an impressive display in Sunday’s 43-29 British & Irish Cup win over Munster A, his first appearance since November.
Casson now hopes to back that up quickly with another strong display when Bryan Redpath’s side round off their Pool-Five fixtures against an Ospreys Premiership Select side in Neath tomorrow.
“It has been frustrating being out like I have so it was so good to be back against Munster and, hopefully, I’ll get another 80 minutes on Saturday,” said the 25-year-old, a try-scorer when Quins won the 2013 LV= Cup final against Sale Sharks.
“I just want to stay fit now and build on it. It was annoying missing games like I did.
“I’ve really enjoyed the move to Carnegie, but have just wanted to get playing.
“As a team we’ve still got a lot more to give. We’ve shown glimpses of what we can do but there’s more.
“We can build some extra momentum now and then, back in the Championship, there’s nothing stopping us finishing in the top two.”
Carnegie have strung together a five-match winning run in all competitions and are third in the league, just behind Doncaster Knights.
Inside-centre Casson knows all about what it takes to play in the Premiership but is confident his side have what it takes to finally return to the elite.
He left Quins after they signed Wales and British Lions star Jamie Roberts for 2015-16.
“I’d been there five-and-a-half years and had another year on my contract but heard Jamie Roberts was coming in,” recalled Casson. “Though I did enjoy it there, I thought this was a good opportunity for me to have a new challenge.
“I always knew it would be hard here.
“As soon as I signed I knew the Championship would be tough and we’d be going away to some really difficult places.
“But the aim for me is to get Carnegie to the Premiership and to stay there. From what I’ve seen here, there’s no reason why we can’t do that.
“The Academy is spot on, too – we’ve got five players in the England Under-20s this week – and I’m pleased with my decision.”
While Carnegie have won four of their five pool games so far and look certain to top their pool ahead of the quarter-finals, Ospreys have lost all their matches in the competition to date.
Casson admitted: “Without being disrespectful, we are going there to get another win.
“With the Ospreys’ first team going so strongly, they are looking sharp even if they haven’t had the results.
“They are not a bad team but we’re focusing on us and maintaining that momentum.”