Former Yorkshire Carnegie flanker Dan Temm has aired his fears for potential new signings heading to the Championship club after a number of players from last season’s squad were sent bills requesting payment for outstanding medical fees, ranging from minor treatments to x-ray scans.
As the fallout continues from a CVA agreement being struck for the club to settle debts with creditors, Carnegie have made their first signing of the summer by agreeing a deal for Leicester Tigers fly-half Joe Ford to join as player-head coach.
But while some of the previous squad continue to come to terms with the consequences of the club’s financial turmoil, Temm’s concern also extends to players who are willing to commit to the rebuilding of the playing squad in a league growing ever more physical.
“It could be huge trouble if they find it hard to recruit,” Temm told TRP. “It’s a player welfare issue on the basis that someone said to me ‘what about Alex Dombrandt? He was playing at university and now he’s playing at Harlequins.’ That’s a completely different issue.
“Alex has gone to Harlequins where he is amongst a wealth of Premiership and international experience, in which he has learned and trained every day with those guys and gone out and thrived.
“He’s been give the correct platform to do that as an individual in a team environment.
“If you took a team of 15 university guys who were then all training together and with no professional rugby experience, that is a completely different situation to one university guy standing out on a Premiership field.
“15 amateur guys who have not encountered those kind of physical collisions and the scrum, just imagine putting a university or National League front three together against Logovi’i Mulipola, George McGuigan and Rodney Ah You – pretty much an international class front row at Newcastle – you can’t tell me that’s not physically dangerous to those players.
“My understanding when I left the club was there was no physios or medical staff staying with the club because they had all been told to find other jobs. Now, they may already have taken steps to have a department in place for this season. But if they didn’t those players are already at high risk because they haven’t played at this level before and then they’re at an even higher risk if the medical insurance isn’t up to the standard.”
Temm, formerly of Newcastle Falcons and Ealing Trailfinders, remains staunch about the club’s wrongdoing in its treatment of its former playing staff, some of who have returned home to New Zealand and others have taken pay cuts to play their rugby elsewhere.
Despite this, the RFU have granted the club Championship status for this season on the basis it meets a number of conditions by August 9, all under the premise that a 28-point deduction could be initiated if they fail to do so.
Auckland-born Temm added: “It’s facing no consequences for people who have put them in this financial crisis. You’ve got guys who have moved from all over the world who haven’t been paid any money and have taken a £20,000 pay cuts to go to other places in the league. Players who have literally changed their lives in order to try and play for Yorkshire Carnegie have now been told to part ways.
“And then the medical bills thing comes up.”
Now preparing for the Championship season after ‘landing on his feet at Bedford Blues’, the 28-year-old said players union The RPA had done their best to support players given their limited resources available to the second tier.
“I think the RPA do an amazing job as a link between the RFU and the players. Unfortunately, what I understand to be commercial and budgetary reasons they are not able to facilitate the same service to players in the Championship,” Temm explained.
“They have been quite involved in the Yorkshire situation, I know they helped some players with contracts and the CVA. They’re doing what they can, they have already been on to me this morning wanting to know more about the medical bills so I can let them know what’s happening.”
In response, Carnegie chief executive Gary Hetherington said all matters regarding the CVA would be handled by the company appointed to handle debts, Begbies Traynor.
“The club went into a CVA, so all of the arrangements with players and coaches have been dealt with by Begbies. So the club have no role to play in any of that. These points need to be addressed to Begbies now.”
“Joe Ford is the first signing for the club and I’m sure it’s a good one considering his passion and commitment. It’s a good, positive start.
“With the RFU, we have produced everything that they have asked for and we will continue to do so.”
ADAM ELLIS / Photo: Simon Hall