Leeds Rhinos have announced that their Festive Charity Trophy game with Wakefield Wildcats has been postponed.
The Boxing Day clash will instead by played on New Years Day at 3pm as part of a Double Header of rugby action at Headingley Carnegie.
The club's groundstaff have worked tirelessly for the past ten days to try and beat the recent cold snap but unfortunately the conditions and the lack of availability of gas has forced the club to postpone a game on Boxing Day for the first time since 1962.
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The Rhinos will now play Wakefield on Saturday 1st January at Headingley Carnegie. That game will follow Leeds Carnegie's Aviva Premiership game against Gloucester which will now kick off at 1pm.
Tickets purchased for the Boxing Day game are still valid for the new date however seat ticket holders will have priority on their seat for the match that they have purchased for. Gates will open at 11am on New Years Day with a full programme of activities planned around both games.
Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said: "Despite an outstanding job by our groundstaff unfortunately circumstances have conspired against us on this occasion. Having looked at all the possible scenarios, playing both games on the same day gives us the best possible chance of getting both games on. We have requested from Premiership Rugby, the use of the pitch protection facilities that are currently in use at Newcastle Falcons to help thaw the pitch for the Gloucester game. It is the opinion of our Head Groundsman Jason Booth, that if we are successful in thawing the pitch for the Gloucester game, during the course of the day the pitch will freeze deeper and harder than it has currently therefore leaving us no option but to look to play both games on the same day.
"However, we now have a fantastic opportunity for a great afternoon of rugby on New Years Day. We appreciate that playing both games on the same day will present some logistical challenges and we would appeal for supporters to help us overcome these."
Head Groundsman Jason Booth says that the prolonged period of cold weather continues to break records at the stadium and his team are working hard to overcome new challenges including the requesting of equipment from Premiership Rugby to ensure the Gloucester game goes ahead.
He added: "We find ourselves in a position where the frost has penetrated the frost sheets and surface to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. We have experienced temperatures as low as minus 12 and 13 over the past few days. With the temperature set to stay below zero the addition help of the pitch cover will be a major asset in our attempts to make sure we play on New Years Day."
Admission prices for the game will be the same as was originally announced for Boxing Day. Anyone who has already purchased a match ticket for the Leeds Carnegie v Gloucester game will be contacted by the ticket office in due course.
Hetherington added, "This is a great occasion for fans of both codes to see the other in action. Leeds Carnegie have a crucial game against Gloucester whilst the Rhinos and Wakefield have named very strong sides for this traditional fixture. It will be a wonderful chance for fans to meet with family and friends and see in the New Year, get out of the house and see two games of top clash sport."
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