Richard Agar explains squad selection ahead of clash with St Helens

Richard Agar says Leeds face an uphill battle to make the top four following Challenge Cup success.

The Rhinos are currently fifth in the table and will face St Helens on Friday without a string of their first-team players.

Ten of their Challenge Cup squad are absent in a game against one of their top-four rivals.

Agar says the run to the final has resulted in a fixture pile-up, which has prompted him to rotate his squad with future games in mind.

“It’s a massive challenge,” he said.

“We desperately want to make the top four. I think things have fallen in a very difficult way for us in the fact our Challenge Cup games and we’ve fielded inexperienced teams against top four teams, coming off the back of a very tiring emotional weekend and got six games in 17 days.

“For us, it’s about getting the balance and getting a team out as strong as we can but one week out of Wembley and we’re keen not to play anyone not 100% fit. I know I’ve got players if I play tomorrow night won’t play the next two or three games.

“I’d rather let them get closer to 100% and a chance of playing the Castleford and Wakefield game after that.

“The Challenge Cup has given us significantly more challenges than other teams chasing the spot, nonetheless, we’ve spoken about our inability to train as much, preview and review as much but we’ve got enough to give them a few pointers and a really good whirl.

“It’s going to be more than a 17-man challenge, I think if we could pull it off it would be an enormous achievement for us and we’ll give it a damn good go.”