Jamie Jones-Buchanan is confident that the “genius” of coach Brian McDermott will go a long way to preparing Leeds Rhinos for their Tetley’s Challenge Cup final against Castleford Tigers on Saturday August 23 (3.00pm).
The forward believes that a very competitive league campaign has better-prepared sides for knockout competition, whilst McDermott’s expertise has been the extra impetus to ensure the Rhinos reach a fourth final in five years.
“Super League is a very tough place to play at the minute, there are five or six teams who can beat each other on their day,” said Jones-Buchanan. “To perform in that is hard enough but then you have to peak for the Cup and Brian McDermott is a genius at encouraging that.
“For the semi-final we had a great game plan and a great week preparing with the coach. The lads went out and executed the plan to perfection but it was a very, very tough game.
“Those are the sort of games that you remember – the desire of the likes of Jamie Peacock and Brett Delaney, they went off the field looking like they’d been in a war film. You need ruthlessness to win trophies.
“It’s such a prestigious competition and as you get older you don’t know how many times you are going to get the chance again, so you have to enjoy the experience.”
Leeds may be entering their fourth final in five years, with their opponents last having experienced a Challenge Cup final in 1992, but Jones-Buchanan has been impressed by the Rhinos’ opposition.
“Castleford have been brilliant,” he said. “As a neutral you have got to love Castleford, you should never underestimate them – they have been phenomenal this season.
“They have their old-school ground, which I really enjoy visiting, and they thoroughly deserve to be where they are at. They have performed very well in the big games and deserve to be where they are in the league and where they are in the Cup.”
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