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Into The Dragons Den
Posted by Number 2 on July 18 2008 - 11:12:24


3rd v 2nd as the Rhinos take the 1,000 mile journey to the South of France to take on the Catalans Dragons. A game that could have a significant outcome on the final standings in the league table come play off time. If St Helens come unstuck at the JJB the winner of this game could climb to the summit of engage Super League with only 5 games left in the regular season.

We preview the game here...

There was a huge blow for the Rhinos in midweek when Brent Webb was ruled out of the game after picking up a back injury. Despite Brian McClennan stating in the Yorkshire Evening Post that Ben Jones-Bishop would cover for the New Zealand international it was a great surprise to many when he was missing from the 19 named on Wednesday. Ryan Bailey was also ruled with the knock he picked up in the Huddersfield game but Matt Diskin was passed fit after a knock to the elbow last week. Ben Kaye has been drafted into the squad as cover for Diskin. Nick Scruton returns from suspension and Ian Kirke is selected for the first time since picking an injury against the Dragons at Headingley Carnegie in February.

For the third placed Dragons, the influential Adam Mogg has been ruled out after picking up a 1 match suspension from the judiciary after his sending off against Harlequins. This will force the Dragons to reshuffle with Casey McGuire moving back to the half back. It means a return for hooker Aaron Gorrell, who tore the Rhinos to shreds in the corresponding fixture last season before picking up a season ending knee injury in the dying moments of the game. Younes Khattabi misses out after being knocked senseless by Tony Clubb in the "derby" last weekend, so Jean-Philippe Baile and Florina Quintilla are added to the squad.

Three Dragons to watch;




The last time that the Rhions went to Perpignan last February they came away with their tails between their legs and a 30-22 defeat. The teams last met at Headingley back in February, it was the week before the World Club Challenge and the Rhinos ran out confortable 34-06 winners. Prediction
Rhinos 20 28 Dragons

Home advantage is going to play a big part in this game, the Dragons haven't had their colours lowered at the Stade Gilert Brutus since Bradford took the two points back in March. Hull KR are the only other team to won their this season while their neighbours managed to escape with a point at the end of March.

The forecast is going to be hot hot hot. With the temperature to be around 30 degrees and the humidity reaching a possible 64% it's going to be very sticky for the players.

The Rhinos need to win this game, it would put them in good heart for the semi-final of the Challenge Cup the week after and give them some vital breathing space as they aim to finish in the top 2 on the run in to Old Trafford. If you're off to the game, have a safe journey. If you are already in Perpignan and you're reading this, the don't drink all the beer before my arrival.

Don't forget to get your predictions in here.



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