In this week's edition of Carnegie Call, Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Neil Back looks ahead to this Saturday's Aviva Premiership Rugby game against Bath Rugby, kick off 2.15pm
What was the reaction from the team following their first Aviva Premiership Rugby win? It was a mixture of emotions and relief. For myself personally I was very emotional after the game because I knew what hard work had been put in by the players and what it meant to them and all the support staff and you could see that by the reaction from all those people at the end of the game. It was a non negotiable game and we had to win it. I've talked in the past and scoffed when the media or other people have talked about games being massive, because every game is massive and must win, but the Gloucester game had a little more to it. I think we showed our maturity from when we last played Gloucester in the second game of the season, when we managed the last five minutes poorly and lost by a point, whereas this time we managed it with much more authority and much more confidence and a greater understanding.
What do you see as the big difference in your side compared to the start of the season?
The ability to consistently pick our best players within the squad has been really important for us. We've got a tremendous squad and a lot of young players that are developing at an amazing rate, but good quality has come at a premium and they've stepped up to the plate. Steve Thompson particularly, Lachlan MacKay and Scott Barrow. It was a big call to bring Scott off against Gloucester as he was playing outstandingly but we had Luther Burrell on the bench, who is a great young talent at the club coming through and we had every confidence in him and he did the job for us. I think Henry Fa'afili is doing outstandingly well at outside centre, he struggled to find form earlier on in the season but is finding that now. There are twelve games to go and ourselves personally, are in a similar position to last year. We had nine points after ten games last year with a win and a draw and have seven this year with one win now, but we are on the back of three good wins and that brings a lot of confidence and belief in the squad.
How highly do you rate Bath?
Bath's level of performance belies where they are in the league. They've got an incredible squad, they've spent a lot of money on it and have huge talent and depth and they are playing really well. They've probably been playing a bit too expansively from deep and good defences are catching them out and counter attacking but if you put a reel together of how they are playing they are playing incredibly well at the minute. They won with the last kick of the game in their last fixture which will give them a massive amount of confidence. This week we have to back up the performance against Gloucester, do what we do well and play to our game plan and our style and hopefully that will get us the result we need. We need to show the same level of control and maturity and we have got step up.