Rugby Union: Diccon Edwards has warned that anyone under-estimating Leeds Carnegie in the promotion play-offs does so at their peril, writes Nick Westby.
Leeds are destined for a sixth-place finish at best in the regular season, and even that requires them to beat London Welsh today, allied with a victory for London Scottish at Rotherham.
By Leeds’s standards it has been a disappointing regular season campaign, a fact Edwards acknowledged yesterday before the team boarded the bus for the capital.
And if they finish seventh it will mean they begin the post-season without a point, compared to the three, two and one point the teams in their pool will have earned from the first phase of the season.
Edwards said: “I don’t feel like we’re playing catch-up, it just means we cannot afford any slip-ups.
“What encourages me is we have proved we can play under pressure. We have won many games by small margins and have proven mentally that we are capable of winning tight games.
“But I don’t think any of us feel like we’re on the back foot and teams that under-estimate us will do so at their peril.
“We feel we are going into it in the right frame of mind. There’s a real sense of purpose and focus.
“Looking at our match performances we are still a long way away from where we can get to.
“What we do on the training field suggests we’re capable of it.
“But we need to get our full-strength team out on the field and we might be a while away from that at this stage. We’ve not been able to do that all season.
“We need our best squad fit and available to win the play-offs.”
When explaining his disappointment at the regular season, Edwards said: “We have conditioned ourselves for the play-offs so there has been a little fatigue before games, but we can’t use that as an excuse.”
Leeds welcome back Stevie McColl for today’s game.