Back retains faith in Leeds
May 6, 2011
Leeds boss Neil Back is under no illusions about the enormity of the challenge facing his players © Getty Images
Leeds Carnegie boss Neil Back believes that his relegation-threatened side can upset the odds and defeat Northampton at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.
Leeds currently sit bottom of the Aviva Premiership, one point adrift of Newcastle Falcons, who face Bath at the Rec on the final weekend of the regular season. Both sides would avoid the drop if the Cornish Pirates defeated Worcester in the Championship play-off final later this month as they do not meet the minimum Premiership entry criteria.
However, Back is solely focused on securing the win which he believes would ensure his side's top-flight survival.
"We are determined and clear in what we need to do at Franklin's Gardens," head coach Back said. "Unfortunately, for the first time this season our fate is not in our own hands. However, we can only take care of our part of the equation.
"Everyone is committed to producing a performance that we can be proud of. It is a similar position to the one we found ourselves in last year when we went to London Irish. No-one gave us a chance that day, but we came away with a win that went a long way to keeping us up last season."
Northampton are still buzzing after sealing their place in the Heineken Cup final with a stirring win over Perpignan last weekend and director of rugby Jim Mallinder has made seven changes for the visit of Leeds. However, they still need to accrue at least two points to guarantee themselves a top-four finish in the Premiership and Back is expecting the Saints to be just as motivated as his side.
"When you are in a run of form like they are, you want to build on that momentum," he said. "They had a fantastic win last week in the Heineken Cup semi-final, but Jim Mallinder will be telling them that is over now and they need to focus on the next job in hand.
"You do not achieve what they have achieved in the last year without being mentally tough and being able to pick yourself up each week to go again for a new challenge. We know we face a huge challenge, but we are going there looking to do what we need to do."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Bows, bouts and big hits, launches, lineouts and late tries. Here's the finest snaps from the last seven days: it's Week in Pictures time
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview