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Page last updated at 09:32 GMT, Thursday, 23 September 2010 10:32 UK

Leicester challenge is just what Leeds need - Back

Neil Back
Back won every domestic honour while at Leicester

Head coach Neil Back says a trip to champions Leicester Tigers is just what Leeds Carnegie need.

Leeds are bottom of the Premiership after three straight defeats but Back believes a visit to his former club might prove to be good for Carnegie.

"The belief and excitement in the camp is fantastic and belies where we are," Back told BBC Radio Leeds.

"What a challenge we have this weekend and it is exactly what we need at the moment as we look to put things right."

While Leeds have lost to Bath, Gloucester and Saracens to date, Leicester have also started slowly with defeats by Northampton and Wasps and only one victory, over new boys Exeter.

"Leicester are finding themselves with only one win and in unfamiliar territory and under a lot of pressure," explained Back.

"Having been in the Leicester environment for a few years I know the heat will be on them because of their start.

"They lost a number of key players last year, a lot of experience, a lot of leadership and that's been compounded by a few injuries in key positions.

"They are under a lot of pressure, especially from themselves and that's the most important thing.

"But the quality is there and the belief is there and we saw against Exeter the strength in-depth they have off the bench to turn that game around and we expect it to be tough to the final second of the game.

"But we enjoy that challenge and knowing if we play as well as we can we can beat anyone.

"We just need more consistency over the 80 minutes and perform for the whole game and stop letting in soft tries."

Leeds' challenge could be made tougher at Welford Road will the absence of key players, especially in the backs.


Ceiron Thomas has missed the last two matches, while deputy fly-half Christian Lewis-Pratt was forced off against Saracens.

Centre Lachlan Mackay is expected to be out until the first round of European games, while back-rower Alfie To'oala will see a specialist about his leg muscle injury on Thursday.

Back has remained coy on which players could feature against Leicester.

"The whole environment is working very hard as always to get those guys back on their feet and on the field and we will put out a side that can compete and are looking forward to the challenge," he said.

"I'm a good politician and won't tell you which players will be fit again.

"We've got a good squad and good talent coming through and will put out a squad that will compete at the weekend."

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