Leeds Carnegie will have a double mission when they host Yorkshire rivals Rotherham Titans at Headingley Carnegie on Sunday. (3pm)
The play-offs are the main target – one no longer available to their South Yorkshire rivals who sit eighth – but Leeds coach Diccon Edwards admits the lure of being crowned Yorkshire’s top side will also be on the minds of all involved.
And given that the fixture doubles up as part of the inaugural Yorkshire Regiment Trophy, Edwards is only too aware that their fierce foes still have plenty to play for.
Relegation-threatened Doncaster Knights are already out of the running for the silverware, which has been contested by the county’s three clubs during their Championship meetings this term, meaning the winners of tomorrow’s game will take it home.
“We are expecting the usual tough battle that we have with Rotherham every time we meet them,” conceded Edwards, his side having narrowly prospered 24-13 at Clifton Lane in November.
“They have had a tough time this season but that will count for nothing come Sunday at 3pm.
“We are playing for the Yorkshire Regiment Trophy to be classed as the top team in Yorkshire so there is plenty at stake.
“They have a number of former Leeds players in their ranks and I am sure they will be up for a big game, too.”
One of those is winger Lee Blackett, who joined Rotherham as a player-coach last summer after a six-year stint at Headingley.
Leeds are just one point behind Bristol in the all-important fourth place but, importantly, have a game in hand over the south-west club as the season enters its final stretch.
Edwards admits his side are eager to get to grips with their South Yorkshire opponents after an enforced lay-off.
The game at Moseley a week ago was postponed following the adverse weather conditions and is now rearranged for Friday night (7.45pm).
“we had some good physical training sessions in the early part of the week as the guys took out their frustrations on one another,” revealed Edwards.
Edwards, who takes his team back to Headingley for the first time since January after the club’s much-publicised pitch problems, has faced some tough selection issues following their last 26-3 win over London Scottish.
“Joe Ford is unlucky to miss out this week but, having looked at our options for this game, we have decided to bring back in Rory Clegg (the loanee Harlequins fly-half),” said Edwards. “we have kept the back-row the same as against Scottish because of the form shown in that game which means Ryan Burrows starts on the bench.”