National Two North: Harrogate ease injury woes with Lewis Boyce loan deal

Harrogate's penalty try against Caldy
Harrogate's penalty try against Caldy

England youth international Lewis Boyce has joined Harrogate Rugby Club on loan until the new year.

The Yorkshire Carnegie youngster has joined Claro Road as cover following a spate of injuries in the forward line.

Summer signing Nino Cutino has been ruled out until Christmas after having an operation for an injury to his peck muscle, while hooker Steve Maycock is out for the season following knee surgery.

Boyce, a loosehead prop, has represented England at Under 18 level and helped them win the U18 European Championships last year before reaching the final again in 2014.

Director of rugby Mike Aspinall said the move came about due to the relationship with former Harrogate coach Andy Rock, who is now based at Yorkshire Carnegie’s youth set-up.

“We are bringing in our only loan player of the campaign,” said Aspinall.

“We are trying to build three teams and build a squad feel. Loan players are not necessarily the best thing to want too many within that.

“But in this specific case, Lewis is available to us until January and he came down and met the guys last week.

“He has a very good character and he’s very professional. That’s the sort of guy that will add to our environment in the team.”

Gate picked up their opening win of the campaign on Saturday as they edged Caldy 20-15 at home, despite dominating.

The Claro Roaders took the lead through a penalty try on 20 minutes before further scores from captain Jake Brady and flanker Noel Minikin cemented the points.

This weekend, Gate travel to new head coach Kerry Wood’s former team Hull, who sit second bottom in National Two North.

Andy Boyde, Callum Irvine and Lewis Minikin were given plaudits by Aspinall for their showing against Caldy.

But the director of rugby said improvements still needed to be made across the back line, with a training focus shift this week.

“It was the best team performance that we have had together,” Aspinall added.

“We showed spirited defence against Stourbridge and we had an off week against Huddersfield.

In Saturday, we had our highest completion in the tackling at 90 per cent and we didn’t miss a great deal.

“We are still far from where we would like to be performance-wise as an attack.

“We have to keep taking another step forward each week. And we will have to do that to get another four or five points away at Hull on Saturday.”

l Harrogate Pythons secured their first away win and first bonus point with a hard earned 25-21 victory at Baildon.

Jake Harland scored a hat-trick of tries to take the Pythons seventh in Yorkshire Three. The Pythons have nine points from their opening three matches, and host Hemsworth at Claro Road this Saturday.