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Tough Call in the Big Smoke
Posted by southstander on June 19 2009 - 11:36:35

MasterMind
All aboard the Rhinos rollercoaster season as we head down to the big smoke to take on the high flying Harlequins in the 'game of the round'.

The final scoreline in last weeks last gasp win over the Giants didn't do justice to our dominance, but in the end I was delighted that we escaped with the two points and moved back up to second in the table. This week we have it all to do again as the Quins look to knock us off our perch.

We preview the game here...

McClennan welcomes back his England internationals to replenish the squad. Peacock, Hall and McGuire are all likely to get starts, but the players and coach will be stunned by this mornings news that this will be Lee Smiths last season at Headingley as he has spotted 'greener grass' on the other side. Lee has been a good Leeds player who we have seen come up through the ranks and establish himself as an international. He'll be hoping that his career doesn't turn the same way of Mathers, Calderwood, Walker and Scruton, the recent academy products who must all be kicking themselves that ever thought of leaving.

Blueys nineteen for the trip to London is; Webb, Donald, Smith, Senior, Hall, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Buderus, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Sinfield, Diskin, Bailey, Ablett, Burgess, Gibson, and Watkins. Expect Gibson and Watkins to be the unlucky ones.

Brian McDermott always coaxes out that little bit extra for hit-ups against his old employers. The Quins are flying high this season and are true challengers for a Grand Final spot this season, well drilled and ruthless. He names a nineteen of; Clubb, Gafa, Gale, Gardner, Golden, Heckenberg, Howell, Mbu, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Melling, Orr, Purdham, Randall, Sharp, Temata, Thompson, Ward, Wells, and Williamson. There is plenty of mischeif to be had amongst this lot, and we'll need to be higher up our game than we were last weekend to come back up the M1 with the points in the bag, and second place secure.

Three Quins to watch;


Gafa

Mbu

Purdham

A loss could see us down to fifth and a win could see the Quins to second. There can't be any greater incentive for them.

When we played them at the end of April we were humiliated at Headingley by 04-21 in a game where we were lucky not to suffer the embarrassment of a nilling. It was only a late dodgy penalty by Steve 'Saint' Ganson that allowed Rob Burrow to go over for a consolation try. The last time we travelled to the Stoop we lost by 24-28 in a game where Paul kicked us to death. That was days over a year ago and came just a month after we'd won 36-26 in the Challenge Cup.

Southstander.com Prediction
Quins 10 22 Rhinos

After last weeks small confidence boost I hope that we'll be able to do it, but I wouldn't be surprised if we don't. To go to play a resurgent Quins and escape with the points is a big ask this season. Everything crossed.

The bookies haven't put the handicap up yet but I expect we'll be the favourites, but not by much. It could be called off scratch.

The weather looks okay for tomorrow. Nice and warm with only an outside chance of a shower.

Have a safe journey to the big smoke!

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