As soon as the Rhinos had confirmed their quarter final win over Hull FC, and the shock news had filtered through that the Tigers had beaten the Giants, then everyone with an association with Leeds
had everything crossed that this would be the drawn semi-final. When Saints v. Wigan was the first drawn tie you could hear the cheers across the city. The RFL got themselves a East v. West final,
and the BBC got two potential corking semi-finals.
Delaney, Jones-Bishop and Hauraki are all named in the ninteen after missing the trip to Salford last week. Jay Pitts and Ali Lauiti'iti make way and leave the Rhinos head coach with quite a few
selection problems regarding his final seventeen. Out of his named squad of; Webb, Smith, Delaney, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Sinfield, Bailey, Kirke,
Watkins, Hauraki, Clarkson, Jones-Bishop and McShane, I can see McShane and Smith being the two not making the final selection.
These are the ninteen in who we put our semi-final faith and hope will carry us to Wembley.
Terry Matterson has made his own changes with Orr, Jones and Jackson all back in the ninteen as changes from the side that lost last week. Despite the speculation that has been taking place since
the semi-final draw, the inspirational Rangi Chase is named in the nineteen.
Castleford hearts, and Mattersons hopes, will be placed in a nineteen of; Arundel, Aspinwall, Chase, Davies, Dixon, Ferres, Hudson, Isa, Holmes, Jackson, Jones, McGoldrick, Milner, Orr, Owen,
Parker, Thompson, Widders, and Youngquest. If that lot find themselves firing on all cylinders on sunday then they will cause us more than a couple of problems.
Three Tigers to keep an eye on;
The Rhinos come into this game with three consecutive wins under their belts whereas the Tigers took a beating last week at the hands of St. Helens. The Rhinos are one place above the Tigers in the
Superleague table and on the one occasion where the sides met earlier this season the Rhinos were comfortable winners by 48-06
at the Jungle.
The two teams have met in the Challenge Cup on eight occasions with Leeds being victorious six times. The only time that the two sides met previously in a semi-final was in 1971 when Leeds won 19-8
at Odsal. The most recent cup meeting was ten years ago in 2001 when Leeds won a fifth round tie by 42-12.
This is a game that we should win but as with every match this season I am not 100% confident. We do have the players and the game but if the Tigers are at the top of their game and we are just a
little off the pace it could be our country cousins who are making the journey to London at the end of the month.
The bookies have give the Tigers a ten point start on the handicapping coupon, which is a little disrespectful and I suspect too wide a margin.
The forecast for sunday is for occasional showers and temperatures in the late teens, it should be good weather
for rugby and an excellent spectacle.
Travel safe and perhaps allow a little extra time if you are driving to the Keepmoat Stadium.
Fingers crossed for the right result and a glorious saturday on the 27th August.