Leeds Carnegie team spirit proved key as McColl signs new deal

Stevie McColl on the charge.
Stevie McColl on the charge.
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Good things have invariably been in isolation for Leeds Carnegie in a season blighted by inconsistency.

But as the campaign enters its final stretch, the positive vibes are at last appearing to double up.

For on the back of a vital victory over fellow top-four hopefuls Cornish Pirates at Otley last Sunday, Leeds have secured one of their most potent and sought-after players for another season.

Stevie McColl has turned down the chance to move to the Premiership next season by committing for another year to the Headingley club.

His primary motive for doing so may be that he is settled in West Yorkshire and about to start a family here, but whatever the reasoning, it is great news for Leeds.

“Me and my missus have talked about it, and with her being pregnant it’s probably best for us to stay here,” said McColl, who has crossed the tryline four times this season in 18 games.

“We’ve built a good rapport here at Leeds and the club have been good to me. I was injured at the start of my first year but that did not set me back and this year has been my best at the club.

“We’re playing good rugby, it’s a good atmosphere and a good attitude at the club.”

The chance to continue his rugby development under executive chairman Sir Ian McGeechan and backs-friendly head coach Diccon Edwards was also a deciding factor in the 24-year-old’s decision to stay.

“There’s a few things I’ve learned this year and I’m looking forward to doing more work with Geech and Diccon next year,” said McColl.

“David Doherty was the happiest when I signed, I’ve enjoyed playing with the likes of him and the other backs.

“We’ve got a really strong, exciting back line and it’s great to feed off that.

“We’re a very close unit and it’s good to keep that closeness in the squad.

“that benefits you a lot when times are tough, when you have a friend back there who can tap you on the shoulder and give you a lift.”

McColl wants to play in the Premiership one day, but doing so next season with Carnegie is by no means beyond the realms of possibility.

That win over Pirates gave Leeds a leg up over their Cornish opponents and into fifth, just a point behind Bristol in the all-important fourth position. Leeds have, though, played a game more.

Resurgent London Scottish are the opponents at Hull Ionians’ Brantingham Park ground tomorrow (3pm), but regardless of the strength of Scottish, Leeds need to concentrate on themselves and no-one else.

“The win last week puts us in good stead,” said McColl.

“we know that we cannot afford any more slip-ups if we are to reach the play-offs.

“We’re probably the underdogs in the play-off race, but that will suit us best.”

England coach Eddie Jones, left, and captain Dylan Hartley have plenty to ponder after today's defeat.

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