Back says Leeds players are ready

Leeds Carnegie Head Coach Neil Back says his players are ready for a game ahead of their opening pre-season match against French side Aurillac in Issoire, kick off 6pm local time, on Tuesday evening.

Leeds Carnegie will return to the Guinness Premiership this season after winning the National Division One title last year in Back’s first season at the club. The club has been in pre-season longer than any of their opponents in the English top flight and Back admits his players are desperate for a game this week.

The England World Cup winner commented, “The players have been excellent throughout pre-season and they are in great shape. We introduced contact work into training last week and I have to admit that it got a bit tasty at times but that is what you want with a committed group of players.

“Having said that, I am glad this week they will have some opponents to take out their frustration on rather than each other when we face Aurillac on Tuesday and then Montauben on Friday evening in France,” added Back.

The Leeds Carnegie coaching duo of Neil Back and Andy Key have employed a number of different aspects into their side’s pre-season preparations including visits to local hospitals, schools, a local coal mining museum and a young offender unit to give the players an appreciation the benefits of life as a professional sportsman and help spread the word about the club. Back feels the variation in the pre-season programme has helped keep the players fresh.

“Pre-season is tough for every player but we have worked hard to vary up the locations and the type of training we have been doing to keep them fresh. Last week we travelled to Whitby to train by the sea and we have also been to York, Wakefield and Otley to keep the lads on their toes. We have also been doing cycling, boxing and wrestling amongst other things as part of our conditioning programme.

“The trip to France has come at an ideal time for us. We will make changes in the two games so that we give everyone game time and the two games are more about seeing how we fit together rather than about winning matches, at this stage.

“Only Henry Fa’afili of our new recruits will not be part of the tour party so it is a chance for the new guys to show what they can do in a game environment for their new team mates to get an understanding of what they bring to the game. Everything we do in pre-season is geared to getting us ready for the 6th September and that is what we are focused on,” added Back.

Leeds Carnegie will face Newcastle Falcons in their opening game of the Guinness Premiership on Sunday 6th September at Headingley Carnegie, kick off 3pm.

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