Leeds Rhinos’ Rohan Smith on why Luis Roberts was an unused substitute, playing away at Castleford Tigers and the stadium atmosphere

LEEDS RHINOS head coach Rohan Smith has explained why Luis Roberts was an unused substitute against St Helens in last week’s Challenge Cup defeat.

Roberts was left on the bench for the entire 80 minutes of the 20-6 defeat with Rhyse Martin playing the full game.

Now Smith has explained the reasoning behind that decision.

“I’ve mentioned this a few times. Martin is usually a back-up back when he is playing in the second-row and it means we can shuffle around to cover any injuries,” Smith said.

“But with Rhyse playing centre and the way the game is being adjudicated with yellow and red cards, that covering of backs is important.

“Paul Momirovski had his ankle jammed up in tackle but he was able to play the rest of the game so in the end I didn’t put Luis Roberts on.”

Ahead of Leeds’ clash against Castleford Tigers on Thursday, the Leeds boss is expecting a difficult fixture.

“I’ve watched all their games this year and they have competed really well in some of them despite the scorelines. They have challenged the opposition with their shape.

“Everything hasn’t stuck for them but they have definitely challenged and stretched teams and the score hasn’t been reflective of the game in lots of cases.

“We are prepared for a tough, hard battle on a small pitch on Thursday night.”

Smith also believes that away players enjoy playing at The Jungle with the proximity to fans.

“I think the away players enjoy the banter and being under pressure, being close to the noise.

“That’s one of the real draws of the English game with the crowd being right on top of the pitch to add to the atmosphere.

“So it’s something that we will embrace.”