Jones-Buchanan dreaming of cup glory after heartache last year

For Leeds Rhinos, 2015 was a season filled with joy and unprecedented success as they swept aside all before them to win the treble.

The first leg of that treble was of course the Challenge Cup, when the Rhinos thumped Hull KR 50-0 to retain the trophy they won the previous year in 2014.

But whilst the Rhinos players celebrated on the field with the trophy, there was one man dressed in a suit who had to sit and watch his team-mates achieve such unbridled glory.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s season was ended in the previous round of the Challenge Cup as he was stretchered off with a serious knee injury in the semi-final win against St Helens – and ahead of the Rhinos’ return to the competition on Friday night, JJB has revealed he has begun to dream of what it would be like to taste success one more time.

“It’s a competition where for me, I’ve had to take some lessons in adversity and perseverance and persistence,” he told TotalRL.

“My favourite quote of all-time is ‘the definition of success is going from failure to failure without ever losing enthusiasm’, and that’s the lesson I learned in the Challenge Cup last year.

Jones-Buchanan Leeds

“I’ve got visions of what it would look like if I was lucky enough to get up on that walkway again. I’ve thought about lifting it and I know where I want to be stood, which part of the line I’d be in and what I’d want to do.

“These are all affirmations you’ve got to have in your mind as a sportsman, and it’s what you think about when you get out of bed in a morning. I understand it’s probably going to take the biggest set of performances from a Leeds team for a number of years to do it again, though.”

Jones-Buchanan is also relishing the opportunity of adjusting Leeds’ focus for one week at least, as they bid to forget about their horrific league campaign and concentrate on another competition – one which Leeds haven’t lost in since May 2013.

“It’s a different challenge for obvious reasons but it’s one we relish and we’re looking forward to. I think we should use this as a week to put things behind us and focus on a competition where everyone is equal right now.

“It’s a nice record and one we want to keep going, but we know we’ll be playing a very, very good side in Huddersfield.

“We’ve got a few players starting to come back now though and that will freshen up the time, the younger lads are getting bigger and stronger and we’ll be better as the season goes on.”

Jones-Buchanan is undoubtedly one of the sport’s most in-depth and interesting interviewees, and he was quick to point out that there was an element of long-termism which needs to be applied to Leeds’ year so far.

“Some of the young boys who are playing now aren’t where they’re going to be, but they’ll be much better for the experience they’re getting now.

“I’d love to turn round and see Ryan Hall carrying the ball back, but they’re starting to trickle back now, these big players of ours. We need to keep ourselves in the hunt to win trophies.”

And if Leeds win on Friday night, they will be within just three victories of a third straight Challenge Cup – and perhaps Jones-Buchanan’s visions of walking up the Wembley steps to pick up the trophy will become a shade clearer.