Leeds Rhinos have revealed they have sold almost 11,000 tickets already for their historic clash against the world’s top-ranked side, New Zealand, next Friday at Headingley.
To kick off their tour of England – when they will play a three-match Test series against England during November, the Kiwis will travel to Leeds to take on the treble-winning champions – and the crowd is already well into five figures with over a week to go for ticket sales.
The Rhinos have billed the game as the official farewell to their trio of retiring heroes; Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield and Kylie Leuluai. The club have also revealed there will be presentations to all three afterwards – with Sinfield and Leuluai in the mix to play in the game, too.
Peacock will not play, with England trio Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall and Zak Hardaker also absent. The clash will be the first time that a Super League club has played a touring side since 2002 whilst Leeds fans have not seen their side face tourists since the 1994 clash with Australia.
The clash will mark the 125th anniversary of Headingley Stadium, celebrating the ground’s first ever rugby game back on 20th September 1890. Fittingly, the link with New Zealand goes back to those early days of the stadium and the famous All Golds touring side that arrived in England in 1907. The match will be 108 years, almost to the day, since Leeds and the All Golds met at Headingley for the first time on 26th October 1907. Rugby League’s first ever Test three months later was also hosted by Headingley with the Northern Union winning 14-6 on 25th January 1908.