Diccon Edwards says a desperation to get into the top four has been the driving force for Leeds Carnegie as they look to continue a fine end to the regular season by sealing their place in the play-offs today.
Leeds host Nottingham – a side already confirmed in second place – knowing a win will clinch their place in the top four. They could even finish third if they win and Bedford lose at Moseley. Similarly, if Leeds slip up and Bristol win at Newcastle, then Carnegie’s season will be over.
But all signs point to a happy Leeds camp come 5pm today, with the West Yorkshire club going into the game buoyed by a five-game winning streak and Nottingham in wind-down mode with players rested ahead of the play-offs.
“That desperation to get to the top four has been a driving force over the last five games and we just want to finish the job off tomorrow,” said coach Edwards.
“A huge amount of work has gone in from all members of staff to ensure we’re in this position. We don’t want the season to end with the way we are playing and the excitement about the opportunity we have.
“We just want to keep doing what we’re doing, keep ourselves to ourselves.
“All through the season, we’ve not shouted too loudly when we’ve won and when we’ve lost we’ve not got too down about it. We’ve quietly come up on the rails, but the task now is to finish the job and then we can look forward with genuine excitement to the play-offs.”
With all the permutations, Edwards will try to keep his players sheltered from news from elsewhere.
“I’ll undoubtedly get score updates throughout the game,” he said. “The intention is we’ll keep that private within the coaching staff and only if we feel that will be beneficial to the team will they be provided with any information.”
Joe Ford, who has yet to sign a new contract, starts ahead of Rory Clegg at fly-half.
Wharfedale continue their fight against relegation from National One at Tynedale, hoping to replicate the mentality they showed in beating fellow strugglers Macclesfield last week.
The National Three North promotion race goes down to the wire for Harrogate and Sandal, with both needing to win to have any chance.