Yorkshire Carnegie look to topple leaders Ealing at the seaside

Warren Seals.Warren Seals.
Warren Seals.
A SIMPLE victory at the picturesque setting of Scarborough RUFC today would secure Yorkshire Carnegie a place in the British & Irish Cup quarter-finals.

However, given their current drive, successes and ambition, that might not be enough to fully satisfy Bryan Redpath’s side.

Just as they are intent on eventually usurping London Irish from the top of the Championship, they also want to dislodge this afternoon’s opponents Ealing Trailfinders from the summit of pool five.

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That is not such a simple equation; to overhaul Ealing’s five point lead in their final group game, Carnegie must score at least four tries themselves, keep their rivals to no more than three tries but also win by 23 clear points.

That is plenty to consider but for Warren Seals, the fly-half charged with piloting them to victory, there will be no added pressure to go chase those crucial points.

“I think we’re going to go about it like any other normal week,” the South African told The Yorkshire Evening Post, as his side head out for their latest “On the Road” fixture on the east coast.

“We’ll look after ourselves and play how we want to. Hopefully that leads us to getting the win and a bonus point win, too.

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“Our mindset will be similar to as it is for any game. As the match goes on things might unravel and we might change some things on the run but that happens.

“We just want to make sure we start well and take it from there, not worrying about the scoreboard.”

Any sort of victory would secure a last-eight berth as one of the competition’s three best runners-up but that would result in an away tie rather than being back in the comfort of Headingley.

Carnegie won 29-12 at Bedford Blues last Saturday – they led 14-0 at the break – to set up today’s decider and they defeated Ealing away 30-13 on the opening day of the Championship season.

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However, they know what Alex Codling’s side are capable of after the London-based side beat them 51-35 back in October.

That B&I Cup defeat ended the Yorkshire side’s six-match winning start to the campaign and Seals conceded: “Ealing look like they have very much improved side from last season.

“They have a big squad and will be tough opposition but we are confident we can do what’s needed.

“It was a good game last week at Bedford. We played pretty well as a team and produced some good things. Our attack was particularly good in the first period and our defence was also really good then, too.

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“In the last 20 minutes or so we slipped off a couple of tackles here and there which led to us conceding some points but overall we were pleased with how we performed and we’ll take that into Saturday.”

Seals, who joined from Darlington Mowden Park in the summer, added: “The goal has always been to get through these group stages and go all the way to the final.

“That’s not changed. We know what we need to do to get into the quarters but we want to go on and win it, too.

“Carnegie lost in the final last year and it’s clear we want to go one better this time around.”

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All but one of his six appearances so far have been in the B&I Cup with Joe Ford dominating the N010 jersey in the league but Seals scored his first try for the club last week and has impressed when given opportunity.

“It’s always been the same with me; I have to take it a week at a time and just try to make an impact whenever I do get a chance,” he said.

“I got an opportunity last week which I enjoyed and I’ve another now this week so I’ve got to keep improving my game and hopefully that will help.

“There’s lots of competition here – with every position in our team, everyone is being pushed – and if that makes Joe play better that’s great.”

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Carnegie make four changes to their starting line up for today’s game. In the back line, centre Tom Casson replaces Max Wright. In the forwards, prop James Thraves returns from injury to replace Charlie Beech, Matt Smith comes in for Ben West and skipper Ryan Burrows is back in place of Richard Mayhew.

New signing Sione Faletau is still awaiting international clearance while full-back Chris Elder is cup tied.

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