James Lowes will be hoping the sun shines on his Leeds Carnegie side in Bristol tomorrow as the Championship’s big guns go head to head.
“It only rains down there,” quipped Lowes this week, after a devastating loss to a late try in the pair’s British and Irish Cup clash earlier this season.
Lowes is well aware of the threats Bristol pose, however, and has no doubts that Leeds will need to perform to get a result against the second-placed side.
“They’re a good side and they’ve recruited well,” said Lowes, “so we’re not kidding ourselves.
“It’s going to be a great encounter, but we need to go down there and not be fazed by any of that.
“We can’t be fazed by the players that Bristol have recruited and we have to really have a go at them.
“They’ve massively out-spent us, but we’ve got a really good core and that counts for a lot.”
Carnegie are firmly in the hunt for the top four, and currently sit fifth, three points adrift of Bristol.
A win last time out against Jersey gives them momentum and Lowes is keen to continue that run ahead of the British and Irish Cup break.
Lowes said: “We want the lads to go into this British and Irish Cup break on a real high.
“It’s not the be all and end all, we’re not yet halfway through the season, but it’d be nice to enter the break on the back of a solid performance.”
Leeds have been hit by a serious injury blow to in-form centre Peter Lucock, who has suffered knee ligament damage.
“It is really disappointing for Pete, especially because he was producing his best rugby in recent weeks,” added Lowes.
“He felt the knee injury with about five minutes to go in the Jersey game, but we did not know how serious it was at the time. It will be months rather than weeks that he is out for.”
Carnegie have been handed a boost, however, as winger Jonah Holmes has returned to the club on a second loan deal from London Wasps.
Holmes is Carnegie’s leading try scorer this season, despite having only made five appearances so far.
“It’s good for Jonah and it’s good for us to have Jonah back,” said Lowes of a player who crossed the whitewash for Wasps last week.
“I think he’s done all right down at Wasps, which I’d expect as he’s a great player.
“I’ve never known Jonah not to be upbeat, he’s a lively character around the place.”
Holmes will start on the wing in the place of Josh Griffin, who will move to centre to cover for Lucock.