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Back hails England internationals

07 March 2011

  • Leeds coach Neil Back hails influence of England internationals
  • Toby Booth furious with London Irish after Carnegie fightback
England and Leeds hooker Steve Thompson in action for Carnegie against London Irish

Photo: Getty Images

The belief of England's Steve Thompson and Hendre Fourie was crucial in Leeds' 27-19 win over London Irish, according to coach Neil Back.

The relegation favourites stunned the play-off chasing Exiles with a spirited fightback to turn the game on its head after trailing 16-3 3 half an hour in.

And Back believes being part of a Grand Slam-chasing side at Test level has given the duo an energy that rubbed off on their club mates.

"Belief is a massive part of the jigsaw," said the former England, World Cup-winning flanker.

"Last week we had tremendous hurt and what Hendre and Steve bought from the England environment was belief and that winning mentality.

"That is infectious and it infected the players and made a difference.

Back hoping to build on belief

England and Leeds back row Hendre Fourie in action for Carnegie

Photo: Getty Images

"Hopefully those players can be involved with England and the pursuit of the Grand Slam and hopefully as a squad we can continue the belief from today."

Back also hailed the resolve of his squad to bounce back from last week's defeat to relegation rivals Newcastle.

"I'm really pleased for the guys," he continued, "This week has been tough for all involved, last week did not truly demonstrate how good Leeds can be.

"It's been a long seven days until we can play again, but if the public or anyone outside the environment needed a demonstration of the togetherness and the squad ethos we have got it was shown today. The spirit in the squad belies where we are.

"We lost our captain [Marco Wentzel] to a calf injury 20 minutes in but it did not faze the players and our performance was better.

"We did not make the errors we made last week. In the Premiership if you turn the ball over 19 times you won't win. We didn't do that today."

London Irish boss Toby Booth said he was furious at his side's defeat which has put a major dent in their play-off ambitions.

Booth furious with Exiles side

The Exiles had been cruising at 16-3 up and victory would have moved the Exiles into the top four, had they not crumbled in embarrassing fashion.

"I am angry for once," he said, "I am furious. To be in a position of such control in a contest and relinquish it, I think is criminal.

"When we were on the plan we looked very good. But there are certain elements where things get away from you.

"Their try before half-time was a key moment and we didn't re-establish control well enough after the break.

"We had opportunities to regain control and didn't take them and you could see the momentum shift and all of a sudden penalties aren't going your way and it becomes difficult to stop that.

"I spoke about desperation this week. Leeds are in a desperate situation and desperate people can do desperate things. And they showed that today."

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