Leeds Carnegie head coach James Lowes praised his side’s “fantastic attitude” as they ground out a hard-fought win against a determined London Scottish to return to second in the Championship table.
The win included tries for Alex Lozowski, Jacob Rowan and debutant Jonny Bentley and boss Lowes said: “I thought the lads played well, their attitude was fantastic and I thought London Scottish came up here to spoil and it was good that we didn’t get drawn into playing their game.
“We’ve come a long way since that defeat, and I thought that was a big game for us in terms of our season and our attitude really has grown.”
Having taken a maximum 15 points from February, Leeds conceded an early penalty for killing the ball and winger James Love kicked the three points.
Carnegie then missed the chance to draw level when Lozowski’s 45-metre penalty drifted wide after the Londoners were penalised at the breakdown.
The home side’s afternoon got much worse when from the front of a five-metre lineout, Scottish found a gaping hole in the Leeds defence and Mark Bright crashed over. The visitors were then reduced to 14 men when Robbie Shaw was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul on Craig Hampson after he decided to take a quick penalty, and Lozowski kicked the three points.
With the man advantage, Carnegie began to turn the screw, and after numerous phases on the Scottish line, they worked the ball out wide to Lozowski who twisted round to finish smartly.
Back came Scottish, and with the constant drizzle making handling particularly difficult, Leeds were penalised for offside and Love took the points to regain the lead for his side.
Having collected the ball from a lineout on halfway, a fast slaloming break from Hampson dissected the Scottish defence and his offload out wide found Rowan who rumbled over for his third try of the season.
After a breathless first 40 minutes, Leeds increased their lead through a Lozowski penalty.
James Buckland’s men continued to press though, and from a five-metre lineout replacement Nick Mayhew barged over and Love converted to reduce the arrears to just two points. But on-loan Gloucester back Bentley to race over for a debut try to seal victory.
Leeds: Holmes, Goss (Clarke 69), Vickerman, Burdon, Doherty (Bentley 69), Lozowski, Hampson, Harris (Imiolek 63), Nilsen (Graham 77), Tussac (Hooper 77), Smith, Hannay (Casson 77), Sisi (Walker 65), Rowan, Burrows.
London Scottish: Thompson, Love, Doneghan, Reay (Gidlow 69), Mantella, Newton, Shaw (Pasqualin 51), Irish (Mayhew 51), Kwasnicki (Stagg 77), Francis (Thiede 79), Twomey, Lyons, Best, Spinks (Everard 51), Bright. Unused replacement: Millar.
Referee: D Gamage (RFU).