Leeds International stars are back in the frame after helping England to an emphatic win in Toulouse last friday night. After coming through last weeks brilliant win over the Tigers unscathed, Ali Lauiti'iti is back in the nineteen to bolster a side getting close to having all of it's injured stars back. We are now just missing Toopi, Kirke, Gibson, Tansey, Worrall and Scruton (suspended). The nineteen is; Webb, Donald, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Sinfield, Lauiti'iti, Bailey, Ablett, Hall, Williams, Burgess, and Allan. Allen and Williams both merit their inclusion after last weeks performance but it looks likely that they will be the two who miss out on the final line-up.
Wigan bounced back from a draw against the Tigers a fortnight ago, with a comprehensive win last weekend over the Harlequins. Having said that they trail us by nine points in the league and a loss on friday night could see them slip to the bottom end of the top six by the end of the weekend. In terms of points difference, the Warriors are a full 300 points behind us.
Noble has named a nineteen of; Mathers, Calderwood, Goulding, Carmont, Richards, Barrett, Leuluai, Fielden, Higham Paleaaesina, Hock, Colbon, Coley, Hansen, McIlorum, Phelps, Prescott, J. Tomkins and Mossop. Pat Richards and Thomas Leuluai (four tries in his last five games) are the players who could be the key to unlocking the Rhinos although the oppositions fans should have more to fearthan we do. There are some great statistics about the game over on our sister site Cherry & White.
Three Wiganners to watch;
Wigan took the Superleague spoils, thanks to an inconsistent refereeing performance, earlier in the season when they beat us 14-10 in a tense affair at Headingley. We fought back for another close 23-16 win in the Challenge Cup at the end of May. That day it was Richards, Leuluai and Paleaasina that caused the problems and we'll need to shut them down.
Almost a year ago (12th July) we came unstuck on our last visit to the JJB when we copped for an 18-2 defeat, a night of nightmares for Rhinos full-back Brent Webb. We also lost on two other occasions in 2007, at home in the league and in the cup but won the important Grand Final Eliminator by 36-06 on our way to pick up the silverware.
I'm not 100% comfortable predicting a Rhinos win, and there is great potential for me to have egg on my face. But after the lads brilliance in the England shirts last week, and the rest of the squads great fighback against Castleford, hopefully we'll have enough momentum to get the win.
The bookies are likely to give the home side a start on the coupon, in the region of six to ten points. I don't think that they will be far away but if putting my money on I'd probably take the hope side with that start.
It looks like we may avoid the rain during the match but it could come towards the end and then be there for the drive home.
Don't forget to get your predictions in here.
Get to Wigan, get behind the lads, and lets keep that two point lead at the top. Drive safe.