Match preview: Leeds Rhinos v Leigh Centurions
The second Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final of the weekend is another Super League v Championship affair, as Championship pace-setters Leigh Centurions take their unbeaten record to Headingley, as they face Leeds Rhinos.
With the Rhinos still hunting their first cup victory since 1999, the Centurions will have to be at their best to produce a performance capable of beating what will be a wounded Leeds outfit, following last weekend’s defeat to Warrington. And, unlike Keighley, Paul Rowley has selected his strongest possible squad for the game, signalling that Leigh are going with the intention of causing perhaps the biggest upset in Challenge Cup history with a win. However, Cameron Pitman is sidelined due to injury.
As for Leeds, they will be without the suspended Carl Ablett, who is beginning a two-match suspension for a kicking charge. Mitch Achurch is almost injured, and young forward Josh Walters could be the latest Leeds youngster to make his debut, having being named in the 19-man squad.
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Jones-Bishop, Watkins, Moon, Hall, McGuire, Leuluai, Peacock, Sinfield, S. Ward, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Briscoe, Sutcliffe, Singleton, Walters, R. Ward.
Leigh Centurions: McNally, Pownall, Higson, Armstrong, Kay, Wilkes, Penkywicz, Spencer, Sarsfield, Haggerty, Barlow, Hopkins, Emmitt, Beswick, Bate, Goulden, Acton, Ridyard, Brierley.
Leigh’s last victory over Leeds in the Challenge Cup came in the 1971 Final at Wembley.
Friday’s game is the first Cup meeting between the sides at Headingley since Leigh emerged victorious, 17-16, from a 1962 second round replay.
Danny McGuire is just 12 points away from 100 in the Challenge Cup (88 for Leeds, 2003-2006, 2008, 2010 & 2012-2014) (all from tries)
Leigh’s Ryan Brierley has scored tries in his side’s last six games (3-1-2-1-1-1).
With their strongest possible squad making the trip over the Pennines, hopes will be high amongst Centurions fans that they could cause the biggest of all Challenge Cup upsets. However, the Rhinos will be keen to bounce back from defeat last week, and should be too strong for Leigh.