Leeds Carnegie 26 Wasps 10: Leeds earn first home win

LEEDS celebrated their 500th competitive game with one of their greatest results – a second successive win over two-time European champions London Wasps that lifts them to within points difference of Guinness Premiership safety.

The club, formed out of the merger between Roundhay and Headingley in 1992, have now won two on the bounce, have pikced up points in nine of their last 10 Premiership games, and have moved level on points with Sale after a memorable win that gives them real belief that they can earn an eighth season among the elite.

And head coach Neil Back believes his side are developing the mental aptitude they will require to ensure Premiership survival.

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Ceiron Thomas guided Leeds to victory with an assured kicking performance as the hosts secured their fourth win of the season.

A late try from Hendrie Fourie and a penalty from Joe Ford further enhanced the atmosphere of optimism around Headingley Carnegie as they at last recorded their first home win of the season.

And Back is adamant his side have all the attributes to confound their critics who predicted a swift return to the Championship.

"We always knew it would be extremely tough and it is proving to be so," he said. "But the belief and the commitment from the players belies where we are.

"Physically we have demonstrated from week one that we can compete.

"Where we have grown is our ability to deal with the mental pressure.

"That was added to on Friday night by Worcester's win and still they came out here with the belief that they could get the result.

"Their game management, their ability to deal with the pressure and the decisions that go against them is great. They are not now allowing those decisions to influence their game".

Back believes Thomas – who followed up a man-of-the-match performance in the win over Sale with another nerveless display – exemplifies the team's new-found mental certainty.

"He is the example of where the team have developed mentally in their game management and their composure under pressure," said Back. "He has been in great form off the floor with his boot."

But the former England flanker was unwilling to dwell too much on individual performances and was quick to commend the unity and spirit of his entire squad in a game they dominated.

"It is about the whole squad it is not just about the 23 who took the field today, it is about the extended squad who were all in the stadium today," he said.

"Without their dedication throughout the week and strong commitment of the team we would not be where we are.

"Unless you have that huge belief, enthusiasm and competitiveness within your squad you are going to struggle but we have that in spades."

While the result signalled the continuation of Leeds' good form, it also brought to an end a strong period for Wasps, who had won their previous three matches.

Melbourne-bound Danny Cipriani scored all the visitors points with a converted try and a penalty.

But Tony Hanks' team struggled to impose themselves throughout the contest, struggling particularly at the lineout and in containing Leeds' robust runners.

"They deserved that," said Hanks.

"Our lineout did not function and we have fallen off some tackles and when we did have the ball we probably didn't show that patient," he said.

"Leeds have beaten us home and away – in my mind they definitely deserve to stay up.

"They should probably be in the Heineken Cup.

"They have the quality and they will win more games this season, there is no doubt in my mind."

Leeds had built an 18-10 lead thanks to six Thomas penalties before a kick from the Welshman deep into Wasps territory and set up a driving maul, from which Hendre Fourie stole round the blindside and raced over the line for the game's decisive try.

Leeds: Hinton, Fa'afili, Rabeni, H. Paul, Blackett, Thomas, Mathie, MacDonald, Titterrell, Gomez, Lund, Wentzel, Myall, Fourie, Oakley. Replacements: Ma'asi, Hardy, Swainston, Clark, To'oala, Bedford, Ford, Welding.

Wasps: van Gisbergen, Varndell, Jacobs, Kefu, Lemi, Cipriani, Fury, Taulafo, Ward, Broster, Veale, Leo, Matthews, Betsen, Ward-Smith. Replacements: Webber, Bocca, Baker, Ellis, Lindsay, Honeyben, Walder, Waldouck.

Referee: M Fox (RFU).