Neil Back, the Leeds coach, believes his side are developing the mental aptitude they will require to ensure Premiership survival after watching them record a surprise win over playoff-chasing Wasps yesterday.
Ceiron Thomas guided Leeds to victory for the second successive game with an assured kicking performance as the hosts secured their fourth win of the season with a 26-10 victory.
A late try from Hendrie Fourie and a penalty from Joe Ford further enhanced the atmosphere of optimism around Headingley, and Back is adamant his side have all the attributes to confound their critics who predicted a swift return to the Championship.
"We always knew it would be extremely tough and it is proving to be so," he said. "But the belief and the commitment from the players belies where we are.
"Physically we have demonstrated from week one that we can compete. Where we have grown is our ability to deal with the mental pressure."
London Irish were emphatic 29-14 winners over local rivals Harlequins at the Madjeski Stadium. Quins were made to pay for their frequent misdemeanours, with Tom Homer kicking five penalties to ensure Irish victory.
The visitors were awarded a penalty try to take an early 7-3 lead but Homer's boot and tries from Steffon Armitage and Nick Kennedy sealed the points for Irish.
Bath's march up the table continued as Saracens crashed to their fourth league defeat in five outings. Ryan Davis kicked 11 points and the visitors were awarded a penalty try to secure a vital 16-14 win. Saracens took the lead in the 23rd minute when Wikus van Heerden snaffled up a lineout that Mouritz Botha knocked back but failed to secure. Flanker van Heerden reacted fastest and smashed through the cover to make it 8-3. Derick Hougaard's conversion attempt rebounded off a post, a miss that would prove crucial.
On Saturday, Gloucester hammered Sale 47-3 with Lesley Vainikolo scoring two tries, while league leaders Leicester were beaten 19-3 at second-placed Northampton, narrowing the gap at the top of the Premiership to one point.Reuse content