Leeds hope to win during flying visit

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Leeds Carnegie make a whistle-stop tour of Jersey today hoping their hurried plans do not come back to haunt them.

The Yorkshire club traditionally make the most of trips abroad by flying out to destinations early to get acclimatised.

They did it during their most recent Premiership days when they competed in France, Italy and Romania in the European Challenge Cup, and they followed the formula last year when they first visited today’s opponents Jersey.

For today’s 3pm kick-off, however, they are having to catch a flight at the crack of dawn from across the Pennines in Manchester.

Despite this, they have been praised by their head coach James Lowes for not letting the travel complications hamper their bid for a ninth win in 10 Championship games.

“This group of players are a privilege to coach because they just get on with the job in hand,” said Lowes.

“If the fixture had have been a month later, we could have flown from Leeds-Bradford straight to Jersey.

“As it is we’ve got to get a bus to Manchester early (today) then fly back on Sunday via Southampton.

“However, we have faced some challenges already this year and I have been impressed by how the players have got on with it.

“The field at Jersey is reportedly quite heavy at this time of year but that is something we have had to deal with all winter away from home so I don’t see that being an issue either.”

Leeds will be hoping the field is not as boggy as it was last year, when on a pre-Christmas trip to the Channel Islands they came unstuck on an unsavoury playing surface at St Peter.

Opposing them that day was Nathan Hannay, Jersey’s inspirational second row who now sports the green of promotion-chasing Carnegie.

“Last year’s game was a must-win for Jersey, just as it will be this season because they still need the points to ensure they avoid relegation,” said Halifax-born Hannay.

“It was a really boggy pitch that day and played to our advantage.

“This year, we’ve got to be braced for everything they’ll throw at us.”

Despite their lowly position, Jersey present a tricky challenge on their home patch, although their record at St Peter is not as good this year as it was last term, when they took a lot of established Championship outfits by surprise.

“I think opposing teams treat it as a weekend away, especially the teams in the national leagues,” said Hannay, who helped Jersey win promotion to the second tier in the second of his three years on the island.

“Teams just go there to relax and forget about the rugby. But rest assured, we won’t be taking them lightly at all.”

James Doherty returns at scrum-half in place of Craig Hampson, who is to join Bristol at the end of the season, as one of four changes made by Lowes.