REALISTIC Chris Elder knows promotion-chasing Yorkshire Carnegie must show vast improvement if they are to stand any chance of shocking London Irish in the Championship final.
The full-back helped set up their first appearance in the showpiece as they progressed despite losing Friday’s semi-final second leg 20-18 at home to Ealing Trailfinders.
Former Carnegie player Luke Peters scored a try with the final play of the night to inflict the hosts’ first defeat in five games.
However, Bryan Redpath’s side won 52-36 on aggregate and will welcome Irish – who finished top 17 points above second-placed Carnegie – to Headingley on Wednesday, May 17 before the return leg a week later.
Irish, big favourites to win an immediate return to the Premiership, confirmed their own place by beating Doncaster Knights 39-22 in Reading on Saturday.
That was a comfortable aggregate score of 74-25 as they demonstrated their class once more.
Elder, 24, conceded it was a strange experience celebrating a loss on Friday. He said: “Ultimately, we are in the final which has been the goal all season.
“So, yes, that’s brilliant but there’s a feeling of frustration with our form. It wasn’t good enough, we had the loss and we know we’ll have to be much better against Irish.
“The first-half performance (24-3) in the first leg at Ealing is what we have to try reach again.
“We were clinical, tight in defence and that put pressure on the other team which is what we wanted to do.
“That is the only real one half in these semi-finals that we’re pleased with. We have to recreate if we’re going into the final and ultimately win it.”
Former Wasps player Elder has scored four tries in 11 appearances since joining from now defunct Championship rivals London Welsh just before Christmas.