After the brilliant win over Hull FC what seems like an age ago, and bouyed by previous wins against Castleford and the Dragons in Edinburgh, the lads will be going into this one with the smell of victory already in their nostrils. There are thunder storms around today and the threat of rain tomorrow, but any showers should have cleared before kick-off leaving a pleasant low twenties sunny evening for the game.
Bluey is without Rob Burrow and Jamie Jones-Buchanan, neither of whom make the trip due to injury. Worrall, Gibson and our man McShane are all drafted into the nineteen and I would expect that two of those will miss out on the seventeen. The most likely being Paul as otherwise we'd be going into the game with three hookers.
The full squad is; Webb, Donald, Smith, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Sinfield, Diskin, Bailey, Kirke, Ablett, Burgess, Gibson, Worrall, and McShane.
Kevin Walters has a whole heap of problems of his own. Not only is his team languishing in a disappointing eleventh spot in Superleague, their only win in the last five was a twelve point victory over whipping boys the Celtic Crusaders. On paper his side is much better than eleventh, lets hope that this isn't the week that they find their winning ways. His nineteen is; Greenshields, Cyril, Bell, Mogg, Bosc, Perry, Ferriol, McGuire, Guisset, Croker, Mounis, Carlaw, Baile, Elima, Gossard, Touxagas, Ryles, Casty, and Bird.
Three Dragons to watch;
We have won seven out of eight 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.
The last game between the side was just a month ago when the Rhinos secured a twenty point winning margin at Murrayfield Magic in Edinburgh.
I'd like to think that we've turned the corner and are starting our run towards Old Trafford but I just have a nagging feeling that the Dragons could really raise their game this time against the Champions. The weather is not too much against us as while it will be warm it won't be blistering. Everything is crossed that the boys will bring the points home.
The bookies haven't put the handicap up yet but I expect that they will be giving the home side 12-16 points.
If you are already in Perpignan, or on your way today/tomorrow then safe journey...and yes I am feeling a little envious!