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Rhinos Ready to Rumble
Posted by southstander on April 03 2009 - 13:13:08

Defending Champs
The last time that Saints lost a game in the Challenge Cup was way back on the 30th July 2005 when they were knocked out at the semi-final stage by eventual winners Hull FC. Since that day they have lifted three consecutive trophies having gone fifteen games unbeaten.

It is a formidable record, but one which the Rhinos will have to end if they are to have a change of realising their dream of lifting the famous old trophy for the first time in ten years.

This one really means everything to the players, it is the one that they want.

We preview the game here...

Danny Buderus is back in contention for Sunday afternoons 4:30 kick-off after knee surgery back in February, and his re-selecting will force Matt Diskin to raise his form even beyond what has already impressed this season. Ryan Bailey also returns after missing out last week to renew old 'friendships'. One absentee is Lee Smith who is recovering from a knee infection and that is likely to give Carl Ablett or Ashley Gibson the chance to shine in the centres.

Bluey has named a strong nineteen as; Webb, Donald, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Lauiti'iti, Sinfield, Diskin, Bailey, Kirke, Ablett, Burgess, Gibson, and Watkins. Of these I suspect that the last two names will be the ones to drop out.

Saints will have to take on the Rhinos without Sean Long, and in the absence of Gary Wheeler, that means without a recognised kicker. Potter does welcome back Roby and Wellens though, who both missed out last week after suffering injuries in the game against Leeds a fortnight ago. With the obvious that Saints will miss Long, they still have an almighty nineteen to pick from; Wellens, Gardner, Gidley, Meli, Pryce, Cayless, Cunningham, Graham, Gilmour, Wilkin, Flannery, Roby, Hargreaves, Puletua, Clough, Frodsham, Fa’asavalu, Ashurst, and Armstrong.

So, SouthStand favourite Leon Pryce gets a run out, don't forget that the nation is listening.

Three Saints to watch;


Gidley

Welly

Leon

Since Iestyn Harris was the last Leeds skipper to lift the Challenge Cup back in 1999 we have played the Saints on six occasions in this famous competition. Most of those have been semi-finals, and the Rhinos have some way to go to redress the balance with just two victories.

The last meeting was in last seasons semi-final at the Galpharm when the Saints were all over us for their 26-16 win. On 2004 the Saints won a fifth round game at Knowsley Road by 24-14, but who can forget the Rhinos outstanding injury time win at the then MacAlpine Stadium in Huddersfield back in 2003?

2002 and 2001 both saw Saints semi-final victories and the Rhinos only other win came in 2000 when we squeezed past by just six points.

Southstander.com Prediction
Rhinos 22 10 Saints

I have a good feeling about this one. The last time we lost to Saints and played them a fortnight later it was the night we lifted our back-to-back Superleague title at Old Trafford. The game a fortnight was much closer than the result suggests and we are in for another belter on Sunday with both sides more than capable of winning. Lets hope that both sides play at their best and we have one of the best adverts for the game in front of a full-house and on national free-to-air TV.

Sundays forecast is for it to be cloudy and sunshine with a high of fourteen degrees and a very low chance of rain. Ideal conditions for good open, flowing rugby.

The bookies have made the Rhinos odds on to win this one and with some bookies you can still get 7/5 on a Saints win. Leeds are still offered at 3/1 to lift the trophy and you can get Saints at 4/1. Try our new sponsors extrabet for a wide range of odds.

See you there, enjoy the game.

Oh, and go easy on Leon!

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