Leeds Rhinos v St Helens: YEP jury Challenge Cup predictions

Mitch Achurch.

Mitch Achurch.

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The YEP jury make their predictions ahead of Leeds Rhinos v St Helens.

Matty Wilcock

Age: 28

Rhinos fan for 15 years

Lives: Pudsey

Two wins out of two is how the Rhinos came out of the Easter period, with victories against a very poor Bradford side and a spirited Salford team.

First up for Leeds was the short journey over to Odsal to play the Bradford Bulls. The Bulls, who sit bottom of the league after a six-point deduction, were never really going to be a match for a Rhinos side that is playing some of the best rugby under head coach Brian McDermott and so it turned out with a 46-6 victory.

A crowd of just over 10,000 shows just how far the Bulls have fallen from grace. Gone are the days when any Leeds-Bradford game would attract anywhere between 20-25,000 and I for one do miss those massive games which produced some of the best rivalries both on and off the field.

Salford Red Devils were next up for Leeds on Easter Monday at Headingley. The Red Devils turned up ready for a fight and that’s exactly how the first half panned out with a scoreline of just 6-4 to Leeds at half-time.

The second half was all Leeds, scoring 26 unanswered points

There was talk before the Salford game that this season is to be the last where we have two games over the Easter period.

I can see both sides of the argument here – as a fan its great to have two games over the Easter period, but as a player and coach you can see why they would hate the Easter period, playing two games in such a short period in a sport as demanding as rugby league is.

It must take a huge effort to get their bodies through two games in a matter of days and credit must go to all the coaching staff who manage the players and keep them in shape ready for the next game.

My idea for the Easter period, if it’s true that we are going to play only one game, is why not make that weekend the Magic Weekend?

I’m a massive fan of the Magic Weekend and have been since it first started.

But, at the moment, having it in May when it’s not a bank holiday I think does stop some people from going, especially if your team is the last game on the Sunday.

Next up for Leeds is a Challenge Cup blockbuster against the only side to beat them this year, St Helens.

With Leeds having home advantage it might just be enough to get them into the next round.

Ian Sharp

Age: 43

Rhinos fan for 36 years

Lives: Garforth

The first 40 minutes against the Salford Red Devils was not our best of the season; dropped balls, knock-ons, and bouncing off tackles again, it seemed we don’t like playing in the sun.

The second half was much better and Mitch Achurch impressed again with another good display in the pack. It was great to see Ben Jones-Bishop with another top display too and a man-of-the-match performance to boot.

In the Thursday game against Bradford it was fantastic for Rob Burrow to score a try on his 400th appearance.

We had a great 30 minutes at Bradford in the first half, then we went back up the middle, stopped chucking it out wide and lost momentum. It came back out to the backs in the second half and we started scoring at will.

So why did we change? Did it come from Brian Mac? Anyway, both games were a good two points and a great team effort.

Saints at HQ should produce a classic cup tie this weekend.Let’s hope this time we use better tactics than just barging up the middle like we did at their place. Get the ball out to our backs and we should be in the hat for the next round.

A full house at Headingley and the fans in full voice should just swing it in our favour. It will be a good watch for non-rugby league fans and hopefully we’ll get a few more to follow our great game. Nice to see the refs in pink again!

Adam Anderson

Age: 24

Rhinos fan for 12 years

Lives: Rothwell

A hundred per cent record over the Easter period, conceding only two tries and going top of the league.

You can’t ask for more than that really.

Salford were no pushovers either and were on our line for quite a lot of the game on Monday.

Our defence is something else this season, only conceding a total of 82 points in ten league games.

We are coming to a very tough game in the Cup against St Helens. They will be looking to return to form after a poor Easter period with two losses against Wigan and Widnes.

Hopefully we can keep the consistency going and carry on with a win and on the roll to Wembley!

Gavin Miller

Age: 37

Rhinos fan for 25 years

Lives: Leeds

The busy Easter period saw Leeds score 78 points and concede only 10 and end round 10 sitting proudly at the top of the table.

The team they replaced at the top, St Helens, are the next test at Headingley in the Challenge Cup and a reverse of the league result will do just nicely.

Matt Fowler

Age: 37

Rhinos fan for 25 years

Lives: Kippax

The Easter period is always a tough assignment but, so far, we have managed the games really well.

Thursday’s opposition allowed us to coast to victory in many respects and it appeared in the first half on Monday we tried to do the same against a Rangi Chase-inspired Salford.

Defence has been the key again, but we were busted on too many occasions in that first half.

Thankfully we improved second half to go top of the league.

They say the third game of the Easter period is the hardest and we certainly have a tough test. Hopefully Brian’s good management of the players will have us fired and ready to march on to Wembley.

Christine Kidd

Age: 58

Rhinos fan for over 30 years

Lives: Tadcaster

A satisfactory Easter for the Rhinos – two wins, four points and top of Super League.

It doesn’t get any better than that! Saturday will see the much anticipated fifth-round Challenge Cup tie against St Helens. It should be a fascinating game and either team could take the spoils – hopefully it will be Leeds.

Leeds Rhinos' ball-playing prop, Adam Cuthbertson. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

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