Leeds Rhinos fullback Zak Hardaker has admitted that tonight’s opponents Castleford are his “big rivals” – but given his career trajectory, it’s hardly a surprise.
Hardaker is a native of Pontefract, where the rivalry with Castleford is well-established and certainly well-known.
He started his playing career for Featherstone before moving to Leeds – both of whom are serious rivals of the Tigers.
And as he prepares to head to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle tonight to face the Tigers once again, Hardaker admits that they are the team he loves playing against due to a lengthy rivalry with them for whoever he’s played against.
“I grew up in Pontefract and that is a big rivalry, Ponte and Cas,” Hardaker told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“Local history will tell you Pontefract don’t like Castleford anyway. Then I played for Knottingley Rockware, which was another rivalry. Then I moved to Featherstone, which is even more – and then I signed for Leeds Rhinos!
“Castleford have been my big rivals ever since I was about five years old. That’s why I have always loved playing against Cas teams.”