Lowes expecting fierce test of Leeds’s credentials at Bedford

James Lowes says Leeds Carnegie never doubted their ability after a disappointing defeat on the opening weekend of the season.

Leeds Carnegie coach James Lowes.

External expectation fell a little flat after Leeds began with a rather insipid performance against Nottingham in the Greene King IPA Championship opener at Castle Park two weeks ago.

But the manner in which they bounced back in defeating Cornish Pirates at Mennaye Field last week proved to rookie head coach Lowes that his team’s self-belief never wavered.

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Ahead of another tricky trip to promotion rivals Bedford today, Lowes said: “There was never any doubt about the belief within this group, so that was not in question after game one, however we go into this week’s game knowing that we can cause problems for our opponents when we play to our potential.

“A lot has been made of the fact that Bedford have lost their first two games and that they will be desperate to win their first home game of the season but we are not concerning ourselves with that.

“We know we need to perform well and build on what we did last week.

“If we do that and we get beaten, then our opponent will have had to have played very well and that is the challenge we are faced with this week.

“It is important to keep up the momentum but it is a long season and this is only game three so nothing is going to be decided this weekend.

“Bedford are a strong side traditionally who have always been in the play-offs so this will be another good test for us, especially with us coming back to Headingley Carnegie next week.

“Our focus is on going there and performing well and hopefully, if we can do that, the result will take care of itself.”

Leeds captain Jacob Rowan added: “Bedford have had two away games and lost them both so they’ll be fired up on Saturday and we’ve got to match that.

“We’ve got to work hard because they’re a good attacking force.”

Lowes has had to make two changes with University of Leeds student and former Chelsea FC prospect Alex Lozowski coming in at fly-half in place of the injured Glyn Hughes (leg).

And Matt Smith starts in the second row in place of Mike Myerscough (concussion).

Former England Under-20s skipper Chris Walker is set to make his first appearance of the season off the bench, as is last year’s player of the year Stevie McColl.

In National One, Wharfedale have won just one of their first three games but have shown enough promise in each of their performances to date.

Ahead of the trip to Tynedale, rookie head coach Jon Feeley is confident his team are heading in the right direction.

He said: “We have seen improvement week on week and that’s all I can ask for as a coach.

“We are picking up bonus points but we feel as though we haven’t done ourselves justice, which we take as a positive.

“We feel there is more to come.”