Mike Ruddock has warned his Warriors they will need to be just as enthusiastic and intense as Leeds Carnegie if they want to taste glory when the two sides battle it out at Sixways Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).
Warriors go into the game on the back of impressive victories over Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers while Leeds only have one victory to their name – against Worcester in October.
But Director of Rugby Ruddock insists Leeds are a dangerous outfit and has warned they will come flying out of the traps when the whistle sounds in the televised clash.
“They power out of the blocks, they are incredibly enthusiastic and they went ahead against us up there,” he said.
“They also went 13-0 up against Leicester at Welford Road, which takes a bit of doing, and at half time against Bristol they were up 13-6.
“Part of our game plan is match that enthusiasm, endeavour and intensity – if we don’t do that then we could find ourselves on the back foot at half time and come back out chasing the game.”
Ruddock travelled with Head Coach Clive Griffiths to the Bristol game at Headingley and believes Leeds were unlucky to lose that match with 50/50 decisions chances going against them.
“Clive and I went to watch them last weekend – that’s how much we respect them,” he said.
“Even though we beat Leicester last weekend we didn’t switch off, we went up there to watch and they deserve our fullest attention.”
However, Ruddock is quietly confident about the battle ahead after the recent form his own side has shown with back-to-back wins.
“We’ve been doing our homework on Leeds and making sure we have looked at everything very closely to make sure we there are no surprises for us and then we can make a game plan to deal with them,” he said.
“They’ve got some big runners, the centre Tuilagi, Ma’asi the hooker is a strong ball carrier, Biggs on the wing obviously is a good finisher and the fly half Di Bernardo will kick goals for fun.
“They have got some big strike runners who will break the gain line for them and they have a workman like pack who will make life difficult for us so if we are poorly disciplined then they will kick their goals so we have to make sure we cover all those threats.”
Ruddock believes victory for his side would all but ensure Premiership survival and seal Leeds fate to National One – but he is not taking anything for granted.
“If we win Leeds will have to do well to come back, we can never say they are out of it totally for example who would of thought that two weeks ago we would go up to Sale and win,” he said.
“Rugby is a funny old game and anything can happen. If Leeds did come back from that it would be a pretty special effort by them.”
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