Leeds loss to Saints is ‘tough to take’ : Neil Back

Leeds coach Neil Back says losing to Northampton Saints was “tough to take” after they enjoyed a handsome lead early on in the match.

Leeds have been left in limbo after finishing in the lone drop spot at the foot of the 12-team table after a 31-24 defeat away to European Cup finalists Northampton.

Their relegation will be confirmed if Worcester win the two-legged Championship playoff against the Cornish Pirates, which concludes on May 18.

But victory for the Pirates would give Leeds a reprieve as the south-west side do not meet Premiership entry criteria.

Leeds so nearly took matters into there own hands by building a 21 point lead at Franklin’s Gardens only to blow it and finish behind Newcastle on points difference, despite the Falcons’ 42-12 thrashing by Bath.

“It is tough to take,” said Leeds coach Neil Back.

“We had an incredibly difficult task coming here against the European Cup finalists, with the form and quality they have got in their team.

“But I am proud of our whole squad, as I have been all year. Leeds have never failed through lack of effort, ultimately it was because we were not good enough collectively,” the former World Cup-winning England flanker added.

“We were 11 points adrift at Christmas, and to still be in it now is a mark of strong mentality, character and a willingness to give everything.”

As for the Championship play-off final, Back said: “I didn’t watch Worcester’s semi-final game against Bedford (which Worcester won by a point) but I think that has been their scare.

“I think they have too much quality in their team that they won’t let it happen again.”

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