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Leeds Carnegie boss Diccon Edwards promises running rugby against Jersey at Clifton Park
DICCON EDWARDS wants his players to put on a show for the York crowd when Leeds Carnegie clash with Jersey in the British & Irish Cup at Clifton Park on Sunday (kick off 3pm).
The Headingley-based Championship outfit are taking a number of their games on the road across Yorkshire this season and the first stop is the Minster city and the revitalised ground at Shipton Road.
Head coach Edwards, brought up in Selby and having been both a player and coach at Sandhill Lane, hopes the match will help the club expand its supporter base across the county and he is determined his squad produce a performance that makes the watching York crowd hungry for more action.
“I am a big supporter of what we are trying to do,” he said. “It’s important that we grow the club in every aspect and look to develop.
“We are a young club in lots of ways, in terms of the profile of our players but also in the history of the club, and we have had a lot of experiences in a short space of time.
“We are still trying to connect with the Yorkshire public. We want to be Yorkshire’s team and it is important we get out there and show what we are all about to the community.”
Edwards, who took charge of Leeds at the start of last season, plans to field a strong side in the match, while taking the opportunity to give game time to all his squad, and has promised an expansive, run-orientated game of rugby for supporters to enjoy.
He added: “We have some good athletes and very talented players and, the way we like to try to play, I am sure the supporters who come will enjoy themselves. We have got an average age of 22 and we are a young team that’s developing.
“We have camaraderie and a good team spirit and they are looking to put in a really high quality performance on Sunday.
“We have spoken about the importance of that, and bringing our home form to York, and treating this as us representing Yorkshire.
“We have a run-first attitude. We want to challenge teams with the ball in hand. We have a kicking game, and a driving game, but predominantly we want to play a style which is all-encompassing but, ultimately, leads to an exciting game with lots of tries scored. That’s been evident in our home performances this season.”
Leeds played Jersey in the first game of the Championship campaign and achieved a 32-19 win, with tries from Josh Griffin, Jamel Chisholm and two from Jacob Rowan.
Their opponents have found it tough to adapt to the Championship, and are yet to record a win, but they drew 20-20 with Pontypridd last time out in the British & Irish Cup and Edwards believes they are getting to grips with their new surroundings.
“They have had to learn quickly and you can see how their style is starting to change and to adapt along with the speed and intensity they play at,” he said.
“I have been very impressed with the way they have improved over the last few weeks and last week’s result will have given them a lot of confidence to give us a really good game.
“The challenge for all our players is that we want our selection issues to be really difficult ones.
“We are looking at the (Cornish) Pirates game as the next match, away, which is a really difficult place to go and we want to go with a fully fit squad of players who are all in good form and, hopefully, put their hand up for selection.”
Tickets for the game at Clifton Park cost £10 for adults, £5 seniors and students. Under-16s get in free.