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Leeds Carnegie preview – Saturday 3pm

Leeds Carnegie preview – Saturday 3pm

This coming Saturday, London Scottish entertains Leeds Carnegie who will be making their first ever visit to the Richmond Athletic Ground. Leeds was relegated from the Aviva Premiership last season and, so far, are finding life difficult on their return to the Championship. Scottish will be looking to build on their success from last weekend against Moseley and consolidate their position in the league.

This coming Saturday, London Scottish entertains Leeds Carnegie who will be making their first ever visit to the Richmond Athletic Ground. Leeds was relegated from the Aviva Premiership last season and, so far, are finding life difficult on their return to the Championship. Scottish will be looking to build on their success from last weekend against Moseley and consolidate their position in the league.

Leeds Carnegie was formed in 1991 through the merger of two famous old clubs in the City; Headingley, and Roundhay. The Headingley club’s founding fathers were a group of youngsters who in 1877 became interested in rugby after watching Leeds St. John's, who later went on to become the Leeds Rhinos rugby league team in the mid 1890’s. The Headingley team, after the great divide between the Northern Union and Rugby Union continued playing the Union game and by the turn of the century had established fixtures against the likes of Blackheath. From a Scottish perspective Headingley produced a number of famous Scottish Internationalists including Sir Ian McGeechan and Chris Rea. Roundhay on the other hand were formed much later in 1924 and both clubs over the years created a rich heritage in the game. With the prospect of professionalism in the air Leeds RU club was formed as described above with Morley rugby club also being asked to join the merger, but declined the offer.

MPU

The new club started life in National League Three, but with a re-organisation of the leagues they were then placed in the new National League Four. A further amalgamation took place in 1998 when Leeds RU joined forces with Leeds Rhinos and took the name Leeds Tykes, eventually reaching the Premiership in 2001. Since then the club has fluctuated between the Premiership and the Championship, having been relegated a number of times with the latest occurring at the end of last season. The summer saw the departure of their Head Coach Neil Back and his assistant Andy Key, being replaced By Diccon Edwards. Relegation saw a mass exodus of their senior players including; hooker Steve Thompson to Wasps, flanker Hendre Fourie to Sale, second row Marco Wentzel to Wasps and centre Henry Fa’afili to Connacht. The club has been forced to cut its cloth for this season with financial challenges limiting the options available to Head Coach Diccon Edwards and he has brought in players such as Scottish prop David Young from Edinburgh, Scottish full back Steve McColl from Doncaster Knights and former player, fly half Joe Ford, bringing him back from Northampton Saints.

This season has been a significant challenge for the club as the new coaching team attempts to blend a squad of players based around youth, including players who played against Scottish last season for Otley, such as winger Curtis Wilson and fly half Joe Baker. The club has also retained a number of their senior players, such as club captain and hooker Andy Titterrell and second row Jon Pendlebury who are attempting forge a new squad to compete in the Championship. In the opening game of the campaign Leeds lost against our fellow Exiles London Welsh and then lost their next game away to Rotherham. The club won the next match at home to Bristol, but have suffered two further defeats against Cornish Pirates, and Doncaster Knights last weekend. The club are currently 11th place in the league, four points behind Scottish.

The match on Saturday presents Scottish with an opportunity to build on their success from last Saturday, however Leeds will view this match as a must win game against the newly promoted side in the Championship. Scottish, since the start of the season has been on a steep learning curve and in all the matches they have played so far, have matched their opponents throughout each of the games. The squad has clearly demonstrated that they are progressing on a match by match basis and will enter the game on Saturday full of confidence that they can take a further step in moving up the league table. Leeds will present a very tough challenge for Scottish on Saturday, as they will be fighting to restore the pride in their side after their recent reversals. All Scottish supporters should make sure that they get down to the RAG and become the 16th player in the side and let’s hear the roar of ‘C’mon you Scottish!’ loud and clear. See you all there.

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London Scottish 16 – 23 Leeds Carnegie

London Scottish 16 – 23 Leeds Carnegie

London Scottish secured a losing bonus point in their 16 -23 loss to the Premiership relegated side Leeds Carnegie, in a tough physical intense Championship match. The bonus point saw Scottish maintain their 8th position in a league.

London Scottish secured a losing bonus point in their 16 -23 loss to the Premiership relegated side Leeds Carnegie, in a tough physical intense Championship match. The bonus point saw Scottish maintain their 8th position in a league.

London Scottish kicked off playing towards the sports club end of the ground on an overcast but dry day.  Leeds were clearly pumped up for this game and started like a runaway train. All of the opening phases of the game were played in the Scottish half as the Leeds outfit stamped their authority on the game. Leeds opened the scoring on the 2nd minute of the game, following a great break by number 8 Ryan Burrows who drove deep into the Scottish 22 metre area.  He had plenty of support on hand and off loaded to centre Lee Blackett who scored beneath the posts, with fly half Joe Ford adding the extras. The Scottish cause was further dented when centre Ben McDougall departed 4 minutes into the game with a leg injury, which resulted in a reshuffling of the Scottish backline.   

MPU

Leeds maintained the pressure on the Scottish defence and won a penalty on the half way line. The Yorkshire side opted to kick to the corner and at the line out knocked on.  Scottish relieved the pressure from the subsequent scrum, with fly half Dan Mugford kicking the home side up to the half way line.  On the 11th minute Scottish were awarded a penalty just inside the Leeds half after they were penalised for holding on to the ball in the ruck. Full back Ollie Grove took the kick which hit the left hand post, with the ball bouncing back into play allowing Leeds to clear their lines.  On the 18th minute Mugford produced a very good kick out of hands, pushing play deep into the Leeds 22 metre.  From the subsequent play Scottish were awarded a scrum following a Leeds knock on.  At the scrum Leeds were caught off side and Mugford converted the penalty attempt.

On the 23rd minute Scottish were again awarded a penalty as the opposition were deemed to have held onto the ball at a ruck, just inside the Leeds half. Grove took the kick with the ball just drifting to the right of the posts. Scottish were coming more and more into the game and on the 31st minute Leeds were penalised as one of their players failed to release a Scottish player in the tackle.  Mugford took the kick with ball sailing straight between the posts.  Leeds stepped up their play and shortly later they scored their second try of the match through full back Tommy Bell.  Leeds moved the ball through hands with it eventually being worked out to the left hand side of their attack. Bell joined the line and broke through a couple of Scottish defenders to touch down 10 metres in from the touch flag. Ford missed with his conversion attempt to leave Leeds 6 – 12 ahead.  Not to be out done, Scottish took the play to the Leeds side and the pressure paid off just before the half time whistle.  Leeds were penalised for being offside at the ruck and Mugford reduced the arrears to 3 points with a half time score line of 9-12.

In the opening phases of play of the second half there was nothing in it as both sides tried to gain the ascendancy.  The Scottish backline was forced to make a further reshuffle when winger David Howells came off shortly into the second half.  The away side however, began to up their play and increased their lead on the 43rd minute when 2nd row Richard Beck went driving over after the ball had been moved through hands down the right hand side and ball was re-cycled a number of times. Ford missed the conversion attempt to leave the score 9 – 17. The Scottish side again fought back and on the 54th minute scrum half Matt Heeks broke down the blindside from a scrum in the Leeds half.  He made good ground and with Grove in  support he off loaded to him.  Grove cut inside on the advancing Leeds defenders and raced away to score an excellent try between the posts.  Mugford converted, leaving the match score 16 -17 in favour of the away side.

On the hour mark, Scottish were penalised at a scrum 5 metres into their own half with Bell converting having taken over the kicking duties from Ford.  Five minutes later Scottish had a further chance to close the gap when the Leeds USA international replacement prop Mike McDonald, who was making his first outing since returning from the World Cup, was penalised for holding onto the ball at the tackle.  Mugford missed the kick with the ball falling short and to the right of the posts. With ten minutes remaining the Leeds hooker and captain Andy Titterell sustained a very bad injury, with play being held up for a considerable amount of time as both sets of medical teams attended to the player.  With the clock winding down Scottish were awarded a penalty on the Leeds 10 metre line.  Rather than kick for the corner, Scottish opted to take the penalty kick with Mugford missing as the ball drifted wide.  Leeds then took the ball back up the field and Scottish conceded a penalty on their 22 metre line. Bell converted closing out the game to leave a final score of 16 – 23.

Another tremendous performance by the Scottish side, who matched the former Premiership side throughout and the team will be extremely disappointed with the outcome.  Positives will be taken from this game and the losing bonus point maintains Scottish’s 8th position in the league.  No doubt, further lessons will have been learned and with 6 games in and a 8th position in the league, many Scottish supporters will be delighted with the progress made so far.  Scottish now move onto the mid-week away fixture in the British & Irish Cup at Esher, followed by an away league fixture at Plymouth next Saturday. Look out for the match previews later in the week.

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