Leeds Carnegie: It’s all about focusing on each game in isolation - Lowes

Oli Goss.
Oli Goss.
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Momentum is not a theory that James Lowes buys into.

The Leeds Carnegie head coach is very much a man who takes each game in isolation, regardless of the fact that his team go into this next challenge against London Scottish tomorrow at the top of their game.

Leeds have lost just once in 12 games, a sequence that dates back to Christmas Eve.

They have also averaged more than 50 points per game for the last three fixtures; a run that would suggest to the rest of the Greene King IPA Championship that they are full of momentum.

Such is their form, outsiders might have been happy that they had no fixture last weekend as inactivity looked to be the only way to stop them. Not that such theories trouble Lowes.

“Momentum is a word that comes up every week, but for me it’s about taking each game as it comes, as much as that’s a cliche,” said Carnegie’s head coach.

“And we’re doing that at the moment – concentrating on the team we’re playing next, irrelevant of what’s happened last week or the week before.

“It’s the next game and it just happens that we’ve had two weeks between the two.

“The lads had earned a bit of well-deserved time off, it was the right thing to do at this time of the season.

“They’ve come back in with a right attitude and trained really well so we’re ready to play again.

“The break hasn’t affected us, it’s just given them the chance to recharge and get out of this environment for a couple of days.”

As well as the chance to all-but seal a place in the top four and the promotion play-offs against fifth-placed London Scottish tomorrow, the Headingley fixture also offers Leeds the chance to atone for one of their worst performances of the season.

Before embarking on their current run of form, Leeds lost in Richmond when they visited Scottish in mid-December, turning in the kind of first-half performance that left first-year head coach Lowes fuming.

“There was no constructive team-talk from me, I just lost my rag completely with them,” he admitted this week.

“The first half was the worst we’ve played, or the worst half we’ve played.

“We gave them 20-odd points in that first half and only a penalty in the second, so we tightened up a little bit on that.

“But it wasn’t a very good performance. It’s been mentioned this week because it was us who gave that game away.

“We offered the ball to Scottish far too easily and fair play to them they took their chances.

“We’ve pushed that to one side now and trying to concentrate on how we’re playing.”

New signing Jonny Bentley will make his debut off the bench.

Hooker Phil Nilsen is set to make his 100th league appearance for the club.

Lowes has made two changes to the side that defeated Moseley with Oli Goss coming in for Josh Griffin on the wing and Nathan Hannay replacing Mike Myerscough in the second row.

The magnitude of the fixture is not lost on London Scottish.

Head coach James Buckland said: “It’s a huge game for us and obviously Leeds are the form team in the league at the moment.

“They are full of confidence and on their own track on a firm surface they will be looking to continue their good form.

“They have some very skilful players and once they have it in hand they are willing to play from anywhere.

“Their No 9 is electric and their wingers can finish from anywhere.

“We got quite a lot right against them last time and didn’t give them an easy out, putting a lot of pressure on them.

“But they showed how dangerous they are in the second half and we were lucky to hold on towards the end.”

Starts for Harlequins dual-registered lock Sam Twooney and Scotland under-20s captain Tommy Spinks in the forward pack are the among the four changes made by Buckland.

The group included Peter Drinnan, from Wetherby

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