Taking time out from an event for the World’s Strongest Man between Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie, Marco Wentzel and Adrian Jarvis spoke to Ben Coles, thanks to Multipower UK.
Multipower is the Official Sports Nutrition Supplier to Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie. For sports nutrition tailored to your individual needs, visit: www.multipoweruk.com
Hi guys, can you just tell us briefly what you’re doing at today’s event?
MW: Hi mate, today we’re at a World’s Strongest Man event where the academy lads from Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie are going up against each other to do a few Strongman events, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
AJ: The union boys seem to be edging it at the moment which is very nice to see!
Excellent, so you didn’t fancy it yourself then?
MJ: Haha! I would love to have a go but I don’t think the management want us to do too much physically ahead of Sunday’s game because it’s a big game for us on the weekend.
Adrian when did you find out Leeds were interested in bringing you in from Bristol?
AJ: I think now it was probably a month ago and it all happened very fast, to be honest it’s a bit of a blur. I think once the initial contact was made things moved very fast. I’d signed an agreement in my last contract with Bristol where if a Premiership club wanted to come in for me then that could be arranged, and when Leeds showed interest, the allure of playing in the Premiership was just too good to turn down.
And how long is your deal?
AJ: For now it’s just until the end of the season, but there’s a really great vibe and atmosphere here and there are a good bunch good guys here too. It’s probably a bit too soon to be thinking about staying here beyond the end of the season as I’ve only been here a couple of weeks, but if the club came in with a proposal then it’s certainly something I would consider.
Was it a tough decision to leave Bristol after two and a half years there?
AJ: Yeah I was very settled there and playing well for them so it was difficult, but like I said earlier playing in the Premiership again was just too big an attraction for me. I felt I was ready to make that step up again so it was a tough decision but one I felt I had to make.
Marco you recently signed a two year extension to stay at the club, was there any temptation to go elsewhere?
MW: Yeah there was definite temptation, but Leeds were very forward in telling me that they wanted me to stay as they were planning ahead for next season, which was something they haven’t done as a club before, normally waiting till about April or May. If you don’t want to become a “yo-yo” club then you have to target players and build your squad early into the new year, and they decided to put that plan into action and came to me and I said I wanted to be a part of it.
It’s a big game for you guys this weekend but do you see it as that or just another game in the Premiership?
MW: We can’t get away from the fact that this is a big game for us. I mean firstly, we need the points to get off the bottom and secondly, Newcastle are our closest rivals in this relegation battle. We want to start signing players for next season and start moving forwards so a win this weekend would definitely be big. Of course there are still 9 games left, but to get off the bottom this weekend would be amazing as it’s been a very long season so far.
AJ: I’d say you go through the same processes as any other week and that our main focus is on executing the right game plan and making sure everything comes right on the pitch. If you get that nailed then your chances of winning improve massively, whether it’s a big game or not.
Marco obviously you were successful last season in staying up, in comparison to last year at this stage now do you feel that the club is in a far worse position?
MW: Yeah I think we’re worse off right now. We started this year with maybe the wrong attitude in terms of aiming high and not consolidating our position, and we just didn’t start well at all which is something we really need to focus on for next season. However we’ve had some tight results against Leicester and Bath in recent weeks which has given us a boost.
You could say it has been a couple of turbulent weeks with Andy Key leaving. Personally for you was it a big shock or was it the right call?
MW: First of all it was a massive surprise, no one knew about it, not even Neil Back, so it was a surprise for everyone. Personally given that I came with Andy from Leicester, he’s a coach but he’s also a good friend so it’s sad to see him go. But, this is professional sport, and he knows that and I know that. It’s out of our hands but we have to deal with it and move forward.
What is the general vibe in the camp ahead of the weekend?
MW: To be honest a game like the one this weekend is a really exciting one for the club. It’s a home game which helps, but also last week as to be expected we were a bit rattled with Andy departing. But that’s done now and we’re all just really excited to play this weekend.
And if you guys do win this weekend, is that survival guaranteed?
MW: No definitely not mate, there’s just too long left in the season. It would be real positive step for us to get off the bottom but it would not be guaranteed at all, by far.
AJ: Whilst there is a long time left, a win this weekend would be a massive confidence boost for all the guys. At this stage you just need something to spark your season into life and a win would certainly do that. But it’s still very early with 9 games left, and we’ve got to try to kick on and chase Sale if we possibly can. I think even with a win this weekend we’d only be one point off the bottom and that’s definitely not enough because Newcastle are a good side who can fight back from that. So we need to back up a win this weekend with another win and get some momentum going.
Guys thank very much and best of luck this weekend.
What do you think? Can Leeds avoid relegation again this year?