It's inevitable, given the kick-off time; the opponents; and the draw of the Challenge Cup; that the crowd will be apallingly low come 16:00 on sunday afternoon. The Rhinos are looking to extend their currenty 163 minutes without conceeding a point after nilling Rochdale and the Bulls in the last two games.
Tony Smith is taking the game seriously, and knows the importance to the fans of getting to Twickenham, and this season of raising the famous trophy. He names the same seventeen who did superbly last friday night in scoring thirty unanswered points against the Bulls, and adds O'Neill, Lauiti'iti and Kirke to the twenty man squad. The boys who performed last week did so well that I think it would be a shame to change a winning seventeen. Kevin Sinfield was missing from the last encounter, and the performances since his return a fortnight ago, show how much he was missed during the last encounter.
Tony Rea's side are bolstered by the now permitted inclusion of Henry Paul, whose debut for the 'Quins came against Leeds in the Rhinos 36-24 win in early May. Captain McLinden, the inspiration behind the 'Quins, has also signed a new contract and despite the Broncos being secodn best to the Reds last week, the boot of Paul scrambled a last minute drop-goal winner.
The 'Quins squad in full is; Bradley-Qalilawa, Dorn, Hartley, Haumono, Hopkins, Luisi, Lolohea, McLinden, Mills, Mbu, Paul, Purdham, Randall, Smith, Sherrife, Temata, Tookey, Weisner, Williams, and Worrincy.
Three 'Quins to watch;
This will be the fourth meeting between the sides this season, with three of them being at Headingley. The Rhinos have won all three so far, however, the 'Quins have pushed us close in both home games. Back in January the Rhinos won a friendly fixture by 28-16. The away game on the 25th saw a 60-0 thrashing in favour of the Rhinos, but the return league fixture saw a scrappy game where the Rhinos won 36-24.
Once again, I can't see past a Rhinos win, but I reckon that they might push us close this time.
The bookies have given the Harlequins an eighteen point start, and I think that this is being a little mean to them. I think that the winning margin will be narrower than that.
A few showers are forecast for sunday afternoon, but hopefully those of you on the Western Terrace will be able to dodge the rain and have a pleasant afternoon watching the Rhinos progress to the semi-final where I expect Saints, Warrington and Huddersfield to be the other names in the draw.