Leeds Rhinos: Burrow is remaining positive for Challenge

Rob Burrow
Rob Burrow
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Leeds Rhinos are in a positive mood despite losing their unbeaten record, says Rob Burrow.

Leeds Rhinos are in a positive mood despite losing their unbeaten record, says Rob Burrow.

The half-back/hooker insisted heads in the camp have not dropped following last weekend’s 14-10 defeat at St Helens.

Rhinos led twice and put under-strength Saints under huge pressure but managed only one touchdown and were sunk by two tries in the final quarter.

Burrow felt it was not a poor Rhinos performance and they can take plenty of positives into Sunday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup derby at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

“We were playing a good team who never gave in but, at times,we were dominating the game and I am not sure what the turning point was,” admitted Burrow.

“They scored a great try at the end but it’s one of those where I don’t really know why we lost it, because we played well. There’s just a few moments in games like that when, if you take your concentration off for a little bit, you are going to get burned.

“We didn’t play poorly and that makes it easier to get over a loss like that. If we had gone there and let ourselves down, that would be a bit frustrating and we’d be thinking ‘we know we are better that that’.

“But we did some good stuff and maybe it is one of those games we will look back on at the end of, hopefully, a successful season and say we remember that Saints game when we played well and we didn’t quite have it.

“It could be one of those we look back on and take a lot from. We had an opportunity to go top of the league and it’s disappointing we didn’t take it.

“We did play an under-strength team and we got beaten by them so we are certainly disappointed but, at the same time, we will look to learn from it and there’s a lot we can take from the game.”

The Challenge Cup is a big target for Leeds, who have lost six finals since last winning the trophy 15 years ago.

Of the current squad, only Jamie Peacock is a past Challenge Cup winner and Burrow admitted there is a strong desire in the squad to put that right this year.

With at least five Super League teams guaranteed to go out this weekend, the ones who survive will fancy their chances of going all the way and Burrow said Rhinos will go into Sunday’s derby in good shape, despite last weekend’s loss.

That was a punishing contest played in difficult conditions, but he stressed: “Our conditioning staff – Jason Davidson and Chris Black – are fantastic, so we will be well looked after this week

“We will be absolutely fine and that’s important because the Challenge Cup is absolutely massive for us.

“Most of us have been blessed to have won stuff in our careers, but that’s the one competition we haven’t got, so it is as important as ever.”

Wildcats are coming off the back of a 44-6 thrashing at Hull KR but Burrow said Rhinos won’t be reading anything into their neighbours’ recent form – and he sees it as a key week with Leeds due to play host to the same opposition five days later in First Utility Super League.

“We played them back-to-back in the league last year and they were a couple of my favourite games,” he recalled.

“I really enjoyed them, they were really intense, the crowd at both games was amazing and, hopefully, it will be the same again this year.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos Under-19s are in action tomorrow when they face Warrington Wolves at Stanningley (7.30pm).

Champions: Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow lift the Super League Trophy after victory over Castleford Tigers.
Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

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