After being 'rested' last week Kylie Leuluai is back in a nineteen man squad which is still missing Lee Smith whose knee injury rumbles on. Scott Donald gets another chance, despite being Leeds weak link last week. He seems a shadow of the Scotty we had last year and you have to wonder if the new arrival in the Donald family is depriving our man of much needed sleep.
Danny Buderus looked brilliant last week and could well get a start this week if Bluey thinks that he's up to it. Of the nineteen of; Webb, Donald, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Sinfield, Diskin, Bailey, Kirke, Ablett, Burgess, Gibson, and Watkins, I'd expect Watkins and either Ablett or Gibson to miss out. But I have rarely been right this year and he could 'rest' one of the big forwards.
Big Mac returns to Headingley and his former employer for one of his personal biggest games of the season. He has continued to develop his squad and he definitely has the raw material to push well into the eight. His nineteen is; Melling, Wells, Gafa, Howell, Sharp, Dorn, Orr, Temata, Randall, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Williamson, Robinson, Purdham, Clubb, Kaye, Haggerty, Ward, Golden, and Gardner.
Gardner, Golden, Kaye, and Ward all have strong Leeds links and will have points to prove, lifting their own personal games by a few percent.
Three Quins to watch;
We played the Harlequins three times last season with the most impressive Leeds performance being in the 48-0 home win on the 14th March. After a convincing first half in the Challenge Cup at the Stoop we let the home side right back into the game before coming from behind for a 36-26 win. In the last meeting between the sides the 'Quins got a 28-24 win, again at the Stoop. This was the only 'Quins win in seven meetings. The last time that todays visitors won at Headingley was nine seasons ago.
'Saint' Steve Ganson is in the middle tonight which turns what should be a sure fire thing into a bit of a lottery. With both sides having just one win in the last four, the 'Quins against the Crusaders, this could be a dour affair, but I doubt it. I think that there will be plenty of tries with the Rhinos being a little too strong.
The forcast for today is very pleasant, reasonable temperatures and little chance of rain. All is set for a fast flowing encounter.
The bookies given the 'Quins a twenty point start but I think that they will be inside that.
See you there, enjoy the game.