Leeds Carnegie: We've never lost the faith - Key

Leeds Carnegie has been a revitalised place this week according to delighted director of rugby Andy Key.

And now upbeat Key and Carnegie are hoping to repeat last weekend's Crociati Rugby rout in the Italian side's own back yard (kick-off 1.30pm on Sunday).

* Click here to watch the latest edition of our rugby union programme The Line Out.

Carnegie finally sealed their first home win of the season on Sunday – and how – Leeds annihilating Italian challengers Crociati 55-6 at Headingley Carnegie in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Now comes the return clash in a wintry Parma on Sunday and Key says his players have benefited from a massive shot in the arm after finally coming good.

"It just completely boosts everything that we've been working on for the last few weeks, if not more," said a delighted Key.

"We haven't dramatically changed anything in terms of how we want to play or what we want to do and what we saw last weekend was a clinical performance, especially in the second half, with all those things that we've been working on.

"Credit to the players because they have never lost the faith or belief in what they are trying to do and their just rewards came with the performance they got in the second half."

Carnegie are now bidding for a quickfire double with Sunday's tie against a Crociati side sitting bottom of the Pool 4 group after defeats to Stade Francias, Bucharest Oaks and now Leeds.

However, the Italian's only lost 19-18 in Bucharest in October and Key is adamanat that Sunday's hosts are no mugs whatsoever.

The director of rugby therefore feels Leeds putting 50 points past them is all the more impressive.

"I think we felt strongly that number one, we could beat the side and number two that we could maximise the points that we got from it," he said.

"That was a bonus but what it did do was tell lots of people, as well as ourselves, how clinical and how good we were because sometimes

people focus on how poor the opposition was.

"But we've looked at it very closely and we don't think the opposition were poor, we think we were very clinical in that second half. It's very refreshing, very pleasing and just what the team needed. Now we're looking to start this weekend's game where we left off."

Victory would pile the pressure on current Pool 4 leaders Stade Francais who Leeds visit in January and an away victory would also set Key's side up for a Boxing Day Premiership cruncher at second-bottom Newcastle – one place and seven points above Leeds in the table.

However, Key knows any ideas that a weekend in Italy will bring a break from the norm and improved weather are very wide of the mark!

"They've had just as bad weather as we have," said Key.

"We're already planning and preparing ourselves for some pretty cold conditions out there!

"But we've had that here ourselves and we have had two weeks here of

having to train and having to deal with it.

"It won't come as any surprise and we will put the elements and

external aspects to the back of our minds and just get on with playing

the game."

Mitch Garbutt presses forward

Leeds Rhinos: Mac concedes Leeds won’t finish top after Tigers loss