Leeds look to end era on a high in Dublin with cup win

Jacob Rowan (Picture: Tony Johnson).
Jacob Rowan (Picture: Tony Johnson).
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Tonight’s British and Irish Cup final in Dublin marks the end of an era for a club and a number of players.

Leeds Carnegie play their last game under the city’s name after 22 years, ahead of their rebranding as Yorkshire Carnegie this summer. It is also the last game for a number of their stars of not only this campaign, but recent years.

Stevie McColl heads to Gloucester after tonight’s final, Calum Green to Newcastle, and Jonah Holmes returns to Wasps.

All of them can be replaced in some shape or form, but it is the loss of captain Jacob Rowan that perhaps will sting the most.

Rowan, 24, is joining McColl at Kingsholm next season after 10 years with Leeds, boy and man.

He has said in the past that he wanted to get to the Premiership with the club he has served for so long, but even before their campaign had fizzled out with their semi-final defeat to London Welsh on Sunday, he had already decided the time had come to make the leap.

“The opportunity arose to have a shot at a higher level and I’ve taken it,” said Rowan, who is the latest academy product to leave the club to further his career, a drain the new Yorkshire Carnegie hope to block.

“It was a tough decision. I’ve been at Leeds for 10 years, come through the academy and captained the first team which has all been an honour.

“Gloucester is a great team and an established club. As soon as they were interested I was keen to get it done and I’m really looking forward to getting cracking at the end of June.

“I’ve got to work hard, that’s what’s paid off in my time at Leeds, so hopefully I’ll get some joy that way again.”

Keighley-born Rowan was the club’s youngest captain when he was named as Andy Titterrell’s successor during the middle of the 2011-12 season.

“I’ve loved it the last three years; it helped that there were so many leaders in the team that help you and it’s not just me on the pitch making the calls,” he said.

“I really thought it was our time this season, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Victory tonight against Leinster A at Donnybrook would net Leeds a first trophy since they triumphed in the Powergen Cup in 2005.