Leeds boss defends Headingley pitch after Albion game
LEEDS Carnegie head coach Diccon Edwards has spoken of his disappointment that Sunday's Championship match with Plymouth Albion ended up with uncontested scrums.
Referee Matthew Carley decided after just 15 minutes of the game that Leeds won 34-16 that the new Headingley pitch was not safe to scrum on.
However, Edwards has defended the playing surface at Leeds.
"We're disappointed by what happened and it could have easily been avoided," Edwards told the Yorkshire Post.
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"In the Championship you get developing players and developing referees.
"We're very happy with the pitch; it suits the way we play – firm, top-of-the-ground stuff.
"If you look at the pitches we played on through December we had a very, very hard one against Bedford at Otley (abandoned due to freezing), played in a bog at Pontypridd and I don't know how to describe the pitch at Jersey.
"If any might have been unable to scrum on it would have been that as there was a real safety concern there.
"The comparison between that pitch and this here now is huge. We're certainly not concerned about this surface moving forward."
Edwards felt Albion contributed to the problem of the scrums in the first 15 minutes, which were constantly having to be reset.
He said: "We've real confidence in our scrum and certainly in the first 15 minutes felt what their loosehead was doing led to the problems."
Albion have not ruled out making an official complaint to the RFU over having to play more than three-quarters of a game without contested scrums.
They did not want to comment further yesterday, but a number of their players did tweet their unhappiness about what happened.
Canadian international Aaron Carpenter said: "I feel like the game was taken out of our hands. Very unhappy with the result. Focus now shifts back to the BI (British & Irish) Cup.
Full-back Rhodri McAtee said: "Beautiful pitch for rugby league. Shame £500,000 can't buy you a pitch to scrum on."
Forward Harrison Tovey added: "Would have helped if there was live scrums for more than 10 minutes."
Albion saw Sunday's game disappear from them when they conceded three tries in the space of 18 first half minutes.
Although they dominated the second half they only managed one try late in the game after Leeds had been reduced to 14 men.
Scrum-half Ruairi Cushion tweeted: "Don't know how that score happened after playing all the rugby and dominating the second half. Leeds were more clinical."