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McDermott's Last Stand?
Posted by southstander on May 09 2008 - 15:21:44

Time to Chuck It?

After the Magic of the Millennium, this weekend we have the magic of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.

A trip to the Twickenham Stoop to take on Brian McDermott's Harlequins is the Rhinos reward for sweeping aside the Celtic Crusaders three weeks ago.

We're without Brent Webb, on losing Anzac Test duty, so Bluey will once again shuffle his side.

We preview the game here...

It's Brian Mc against Brian Mc and Blueys Boys take on Tony Smiths ex-under study with the prize being a quarter final place on the march to Wembley Stadium.

Luke Burgess misses out on a return to the scene of a one month loan period last season, after sustaining a groin injury in training. Eric Anselme is cup tied after missing the signing deadline. The good news is that it looks like the game could signal the return of Gareth Ellis from injury, probably back into the centres. Bluey has named Lee Smith in his squad as cover for the missing Webb. His nineteen shows a very young pack and is; Donald, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Ellis, Sinfield, Scruton, Ablett, Tansey, Hall, Williams, Allan, Worrall, Watkins and Jones-Bishop.

Brian McDermott is without inspirational Rob Purdham who picked up an injury late in last weekends game. That said, it is a pretty strong nineteen of; Barker, Clubb, Gafa, Grayshon, Haggerty, Hill, Howell, Mbu, Melling, Orr, Paul, Randall, Rinaldi, Sharp, Sheriffe, Temata, Ward, Wells and Worrincy. Mbu amd Ward, in particular, will be looking forward to taking on the side where they spent some time.

The 'Quins are currently fourth bottom in Superleague, some ten points behind the Rhinos at the half-season stage. They have a points difference of -54 compared with the Rhinos +238. A 'Quins win would certainly be classed as a cup upset, with many pundits now predicting a Rhinos clean sweep in 2008. Leeds are currently 5/2 favourites to lift the Cup come the 30th August, you'll get 33/1 on the 'Quins.

Three 'Quins to watch;




The last time that the Rhinos lifted this great trophy, some nine years ago, we beat the previous London incarnation, the Broncos, in the final at the old Wembley. On that day it was by a record winning margin of 52-16. This is the fortieth meeting between Leeds and London since the start of Superleague. Leeds have won on on thirty-two occasions and drawn twice leaving the 'Quins with just a 15% win rate. The last London win was almost three years ago when the Perpignan Conga cost us a 24-32 defeat in the 'On the Road' game.

We've never lost at the Stoop and the last game we lost in London was over ten years ago when the Broncos beat us 40-16 during Superleague II. Prediction
'Quins 10 38 Rhinos

This could, and possibly should, be a big win for the Rhinos. Despite the injuries our confidence is sky high after last weeks demolition of the Bulls in Cardiff and the 'Quins are on a downward spiral after losing three of the last four (the only victory being in the previous round of the Cup over Castleford). Last weekends loss to the Dragons left McDermott making Mourinho like statements at the press conference which implied that he was looking for an out from the capital, later dismissed with a statement from the club. Not all seems to be well in the capital.

The bookies haven't put the handicaps up yet but I'd expect that we'll be serious favourites, with the handicap being in the 16-26 range.

Sunday is going to be hot, hot, hot but some cloud cover may stop the 'lobster effect' as summer finally seems to have arrived in the UK.



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