Rigid agenda vital for Leeds to collect first league win

MARCO WENTZEL is imploring his team-mates to stay true to their game plan in Sunday's crucial Premiership basement battle at Newcastle Falcons.

Leeds Carnegie go into the game without a win and seven points adrift of the Falcons but buoyed by their back-to-back wins over Italian side Crociati Rugby in the European Challenge Cup.

Their South African-born captain believes they earned those two wins because they stuck to the agenda for 80 minutes, and is confident they can claim that

belated first win by doing so again at Kingston Park.

"We knew we were stronger than Crociati but we didn't rest players. We picked a strong team, moved the ball around, and went through our game plan," said Wentzel.

"It was 15-6 at half-time in both games but we stayed patient and stuck to the task.

"If we had have played like that more often since the start of the season we'd have had a few more wins; I'm thinking of games like Gloucester away.

"We've panicked before, made silly mistakes and heads have dropped.

"We cannot do that on Sunday. It's a big focus for us, the game plan is set, we know what we want to do, we know our style of rugby, we just need to go out and do it."

Leeds earned a vital victory in the corresponding fixture last season, a game played in similar conditions to those expected in the north east on Boxing Day.

Newcastle have had a heated dome sent up from Twickenham to keep the pitch protected for what is an equally important game for the hosts.

But Wentzel believes the conditions will better suit the struggling visitors.

"First and foremost we really want this game at Newcastle to be on," said the towering 31-year-old lock.

"Now is the best time to play it. We've come off two good wins that have really lifted the place and for once the squad is fully fit, plus we've got our England internationals back.

"The weather conditions will be good for us, we like it cold and wet.

"It was a big win for us last year in freezing conditions. We know it'll be another close game and Newcastle have got a really good kicker (Jimmy Gopperth), so discipline-wise we need to be on top of our game.

"We need to start putting pressure on teams and in these conditions you need to be clinical."

Rotherham Titans' Championship game at bottom club Birmingham and Solihull, originally scheduled for Boxing Day, has been switched to Tuesday, December 28, (3pm) due to the adverse weather conditions.