Key outlines hopes for Leeds training week

Leeds Carnegie Director of Rugby Andy Key has outlined his hopes for his teams training week in France that will see them play their first two pre-season games ahead of their return to the Guinness Premiership.

Leeds jetted out to France on Monday afternoon to take part in the Issoire Tournament. They will face French Second division side Aurillac on Tuesday evening before playing Top 14 side Montauben on Friday night.

Ahead of his side’s departure Key said, “We are looking at the trip as a chance to build together as a side, both on and off the field. We will be speaking about our core values and taking a hard look at the mental side of our preparations. It is not just about our ability to play at the required level in the Guinness Premiership but also about being mentally prepared for the challenges we will face together.

“We will speak about the things that we did do well last season and the things that we did not do well in pressurised environments and look to learn from both,” added Key.

Leeds Carnegie will kick off their Guinness Premiership campaign on 6th September against Newcastle Falcons at Headingley Carnegie and Key admits that this week’s games will take the pre-season preparations up a level. He added, “We have been back in pre-season training eight weeks now and there is still a long way to go. This week we will face Aurillac, who begin their season at the same time as us, and Montauben who will begin their season the week after we play them.

“That means we will have to face two sides who are at different stages of their own preparations which is great for us. It will give us a guideline as to where we are at currently and where we need to be come the start of the season. In that sense, the result is irrelevant but it is how we deal with pressure that is most important. We have changed the way we want to play in some areas from last season and we also have to adapt to the change in the laws for the ELVs and these two games will be vital in putting those pieces together,” added Key.

Leeds have taken a 35 man squad to France with all players intended to be used in the two games.

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