Castleford Tigers: Clare determined to earn regular starting place

James Clare scores a try for Castleford Tigers.
James Clare scores a try for Castleford Tigers.

After a successful return to his hometown club last year winger James Clare now wants to nail down a regular place in the Castleford Tigers starting line-up.

Clare faced big competition to win a place on the wing after re-signing for Cas from Leigh, but injuries to Greg Eden and Greg Minikin gave him his opportunity, which he took well to play 18 games in 2018 – scoring eight tries.

His performances earned him a new contract in July, which keeps him at the club until the end of 2020 and he intends to do everything he can to make himself a regular starter from now on.

He said: “Everybody has their own personal aims and for me I obviously want to get a starting shirt if I can.

“I’ve been at Cas and had good starting numbers and not so good numbers and they don’t necessarily mean anything. But I want to play every single regular Super League game to start off with.

“There’s a couple of things personally in my game I want to fix up if I can. As a team we just need to go one better, we’re going to get into the finals hopefully and just go one better than what we’ve done in the semi-final last year and the final the year before – and hopefully win a trophy.”

Clare has been back in training just over three weeks with his teammates and has described it as being tough so far.

Part of the training was a short camp to work on a farm in Cumbria and the 27-year-old outside back described how the players were tested on their trip north.

He said: “We just got told to bring a sleeping bag, a rucksack and a little bit of food and basically that was it, just do your best.

“As soon as we got there we had to take a half-mile jog down to a farm, have a little look then go back up and get all the gear off the bus.

“Then we were straight into a farmer’s style day working. For the first hour or so we were just mucking out cow pat and moving it by wheelbarrow.

“The next task was chopping blocks of wood. They had already been felled by the gentleman there with his chainsaw and they gave us a couple of blunt axes and said do your best to chop them down.

“There’s no ways of getting around that, it’s just hard graft. You can’t be smart about it and can’t think of an easy way, you’ve just got to work as hard as you can and work hard as a team as well.

“I think it was for the mental toughness side of things and to see how resilient we are as a team because all the challenges we had were extremely tough.

“There was no cutting corners. In the 10-sided teams we were in everybody had to pull their own weight and everybody had to do their little bit to get you through it. If there was one person slacking then the entire team would have struggled.”