Player-coach Gareth Lewis believes his young pack will reap the rewards of their most testing week in National II North and come out stronger at Harrogate on Saturday.

Huddersfield’s forwards were outmuscled and outplayed by leaders Hull Ionians at Lockwood Park as they suffered a 29-14 defeat.

With an average age of 24, they were always going to find it tough against a vastly-experienced Ionians’ pack boasting the current Yorkshire county front row.

But they still refused to wave the white flag at any stage in the contest.

And with Yorkshire Carnegie and former Huddersfield loose-head prop Ben Harris invited down to Lockwood Park to deliver a specialist scrummaging session with the players on Tuesday, Lewis knows his young forwards will have the confidence to put last weekend behind them and build positively on their most recent matchday experience and the Harris masterclass.

“Hull Ionians made it a very tough day at the office for our pack,” admitted Lewis.

“But the boys know it doesn’t get much tougher, and I know they’ll learn from this experience and come back stronger. After all, playing at this level is a new experience for many of them, and they’ve still got their best years ahead of them.

“So that game and this week’s training session with Ben should prove invaluable in terms of their development.

 

“To have someone of Ben’s calibre to come down to Lockwood Park and take a session was absolutely fantastic, and having such great numbers to training allowed for live scrummaging and the lads responded really well to his input.

“We’re certainly expecting all of this to be reflected in the pack’s performance at Harrogate this weekend.”

And Lewis is aware an improvement is required for his mid-table team to match a fifth-placed Harrogate side, who have won nine and drawn three of the League fixtures so far this season.

“They’re going well, and it’ll be a another big test,” added Lewis, who has brought back line-out specialist Nick Rhodes to replace Richard Brown in the only major change to the pack.

“We did hold them to 18-18 at our place in our opening home game of the season, so we know they are a side we’re capable of matching.

“It’s a blow to lose Tom Hodgson for three to four weeks with a shoulder injury, particularly as he’s only just returned from his ankle problem, but we know we can go there and give it a really good shot.

“It’s obviously our last game before Christmas and the new year, and to round off what’s been a great year with a big win would be a wonderful way to end 2014.”