Leeds Carnegie Director of Rugby Andy Key said he was pleased to get away from his side's Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Bucuresti Oaks in Romania with a narrow 10-6 win.
The Round Three Pool game was played in the freezing cold with snow falling throughout the match and the Guinness Premiership side were grateful to number eight Rhys Oakley for a try with five minutes remaining to give them the lead which was crucially converted by Jason Strange to seal victory.
Strange had kicked a penalty in the first half whilst Bucuresti full back Florin Vlaicu had given his side the lead with a drop goal four minutes into the second half after kicking a penalty in the first half.
Speaking after the game, Key said, "It was very cold with snowing throughout the game. We did not help ourselves at times with how we executed the game although there was a great deal of confusion with the official. Bucuresti had a lot of passion but we defended well and only conceded a drop goal and penalty. The drop goal came from our error when we failed to reach touch from a kick and fair play to their full back, who collected the ball and kicked it back from half way line. However, we played some smart stuff that got us out of our half before Calum Clark charged a clearing kick down and Rhys Okaley dived on loose ball and slid in from five metres out. Jason Strange's conversion was important because that meant they had to go for a try to win it and we managed to hold them out.
"It is probably not the best game we will ever produce or be involved but it was a pleasing result at end of the day. We have not been here before, especially in the adverse conditions, and we are still in with a shout in this competition.
"It is difficult to pin point individuals but Jon Pendlebury worked hard as captain and kept us going. Our
bench brought enthusiasm to the side when they came on. Young back row Jacob Rowan played really well, he tackled low and hard and put people down on the floor so we could compete for the ball and we won several penalties on the back of his work.
"Bourgoin nearly lost here and we fought hard to win in the end. It is also a life experience for our players coming to places like this and playing against different cultures of rugby and with referees from different countries and who do not necessarily speak your language. Our players will gain good experiences and they can take that forward. The more we get exposed to experiences like this, the better side we will become going into the future," added Key.
Looking forward to next week's return match between the side, Key said his side had a number of injury worries from their trip to Romania. He added, "The worst one is Rob Rawlinson. He is not having much luck at the minute as he has just got back from injury. He had his nose broken in the second half which was quite nasty but he should be alright. Phil Murphy rolled his ankle and Jonny Hepworth took a bang to his thigh but both should be okay. You would like to think conditions would be better next week and we look forward to welcoming them to Headingley Carnegie next Sunday. They fought hard in front of their fans and that is what we will be looking to do next week. That is one of four games we have targeted between now and New Year and it is a case of one win down, three to go," added Key.