Doncaster-born prop Michael Cusack is backing his side to make Yorkshire proud when Carnegie take on London Irish in the Greene King IPA Championship Final this week.

The first leg takes place at Headingley Carnegie on Wednesday night, kick off 7.45pm before the second leg down in Reading seven days later.

Cusack, who came through the academy ranks at the club under Phil Davies, is in his second spell at Headingley Carnegie and says the team are under no illusion about the size of the task in front of them.

He commented, “It will be a massive challenge and we know we are going to have to put two of our best performances of the season together. We performed well in the second half of the home game and that match was a different ball game from the first game at their place. We weren’t up to scratch in the first game but we competed a lot more at our place and were a lot more threatening. That was a good performance and I am sure Wednesday’s game will be a lot more exciting.”

Irish finished top of the table at the end of the regular season and defeated one of Cusack’s former clubs, Doncaster Knights, in their semi final. Looking ahead to Wednesday’s game, Cusack added, “They have a very strong forward pack with a lot of Premiership experience along with a very good back three who cause teams a lot of problems. They have threats all over the field and we have to ensure we are on form and stop them playing the way they want to play.”

Cusack played in some massive games in his first spell at the club including the club’s debut in the Heineken Cup but he rates the next two games on the same level of importance for the club. He added,  “This is right up there, the club hasn’t been in the Premiership for a long while. Yorkshire as a county should have a club in the Premiership and this is a massive opportunity. Hopefully we can end up where we believe we should be.”

The Scottish international is also mindful that Carnegie must ensure they are still in the tie after the first leg to give themselves the best chance to win the tie after the second leg. He commented, “It is important to still be in the tie after Wednesday night. We don’t want to play too much and end up gifting lots of points away; we need to play properly and in the right areas. We always go out believing we can win but if things don’t go to plan we need to be in touching distance to make sure we can turn things around the following week. It is not just the eighty minutes that matter and we must not worry if we don’t hit our straps on Wednesday because we mustn’t leave ourselves with an uphill task.”