Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Yorkshire are stronger than us - Lancashire coach Nelson
Mark Nelson, coach to defending Bill Beaumont Cup holders Lancashire, is taking a leaf out of Roberto Mancini’s book.
The red-rose boss is insisting ahead of tomorrow's Roses match at Scarborough that Yorkshire have the strongest squad in the Northern Pool.
Like the Manchester City boss who has been claiming the supremacy of his Old Trafford rivals despite compelling evidence to the contrary, Nelson holds fast to his view that with the support they have received from Championship clubs Leeds Carnegie and Rotherham, the White Rose men are still the side to beat in a very competitive section.
The fact that Yorkshire were beaten by Cheshire for a third successive time last Saturday at Macclesfield does not sway Nelson.
Neither does the fact that coming into the red rose reckoning tomorrow are Italy international Warren Spragg from Petrarca, possibly England Sevens flier Nick Royle, Ben Vernon, the England Counties under-20 flanker, England Counties winger Ollie Brennand, Fylde pair Gareth Rawlings (flanker) and Steve Briers (centre) and Caldy’s Mark Rylance (hooker).
“I think that Yorkshire on paper are the strongest team in the competition having had the support of Leeds and Rotherham.” says Nelson.
“Yorkshire are taking us to the far-flung reaches of the county and I’m expecting a very tough engagement at Scarborough.
“I don’t subscribe to the view that a tough game against Northumberland was what we need to launch our campaign – I’d rather have had a fluid opening game.
"But the North is a stronger division this season and every game is going to be tough. The Roses game will be no different. We need to be at our best to come away with a win.”
Yorkshire team manager Graham Siswick says: “The last time we won the title we were beaten in our opening game, so we are not too down about the defeat against Cheshire, even though we were obviously disappointed to lose,
“It was a real see-saw game where the lead changed hands seven times, so it was disappointing to lose at the end.
“We certainly have had some things to work on in training and we also have some decisions to make about the starting line-up for tomorrow because have a handful of players coming into the reckoning who were not available last weekend.”
Hull full back Jim Wigglesworth, who played for the England Counties under-20s against Scotland under-20s last Friday, comes into the frame, while up front, Leeds Carnegie’s Phil Nilsen, coach at Bradford Salem, will come in at hooker.
England Counties captain Rob Baldwin (Wharfedale) is also available to take a back-row berth, as is Huddersfield captain Nick Sharpe, but lock Rob Kench (Hull Ionians) is ruled out with an arm injury, so a reshuffle in the back five of the scrum will have to be made.
The staging of the fixture on the East Coast has raised an eyebrow or two in Lancashire, but all the signs point to a bumper rugby day.
Scarborough club personnel have been promoting the game enthusiastically for several weeks and the townsfolk have rallied behind them extremely well, with over 1,000 tickets already sold and plans in place for an attendance of twice that figure tomorrow.