The Rhinos take on the Catalans Dragons in game six of seven. We kick off at 5pm on sunday afternoon, following on from Castleford against
Hull FC, looking for our second win of the year over the french. Just over a month ago we stung the Dragons 42-14 but four wins out of their last five means that the Catalans are a
far different proposition now.
Lee Smith is back in the squad, and in the reckoning, after being absent since round 6 and replaces Ashley Gibson who is out with an injury. Ryan Bailey also misses out and has been replaced by Simon Worrall in the nineteen. I suspect that Worrall will be one to miss out, possibly along with Kallum Watkins.
Kevin Walters will be keeping his fingers crossed that Greg Bird will have overcome both an injury and jetlag following his return from his
trial in Australia. Walters will be missing his leading points scorer Thomas Bosc, and big Aussie pro forward Jason Ryles, but will be
hoping that Adam Mogg will be fit to take part after suffering from ongoing hamstring trouble.
Three Dragons to watch;
We have won six out of seven encounters with the Dragons, the only loss being away in Perpignan in April 2007 when we went down by 22-30. We hammered them later the same season when a Brent Webb Hat-trick
helped us to a 54-08 win. In 2008 we won at home 34-06 and by 37-24 in the summer sunshine in the south of France.
We've got Thierry Alibert in the middle for the first time this season. He doesn't seem bad with the whistle in his hand but he's a
nightmare in the video box.
We seem to be in a cycle of good Leeds, bad Leeds and this week we are scheduled for good Leeds. This is why I have tipped a narrow win,
but make no mistake, it will be tough. The Dragons have finally found their feet and are starting to show some of last seasons form,
although last weeks heavy loss at Craven Park will have been a surprise.
The forcast is for a nice day on saturday but make the most of it as
there will be an increasing risk of showers as the weekend progresses. Anyone still in the Scottish capital on monday is almost nailed on
to get wet. Doesn't bode well for a nice topless journey home in the convertible!
The bookies are likely to be giving around a ten
point start to the Dragons but I think that it will be tighter than that.
See you there, drive safely, and enjoy the game.
Footnote: The last time I made this journey for a rugby match I ended up in a field by the side of the M6 after suffering a blowout. Mrs SouthStander.com and I were very lucky to get out of the car in one piece, after we veered across three lanes of very busy friday lunchtime traffic and through a wooden fence. Thank you to Sweedish engineering in the shape of a very robust SAAB 9000. Please everyone take the utmost care, and enjoy your weekend.