Leeds Rhinos flying visit to France will give them the best chance of winning Friday’s clash with Catalan Dragons – and the following week’s showdown at Huddersfield Giants.
LEEDS RHINOS’ flying visit to France will give them the best chance of winning Friday’s clash with Catalan Dragons – and the following week’s showdown at Huddersfield Giants.
Rhinos have chartered a jet to take the team – plus a group of fans – to and from Perpignan on the day of the game.
They will fly to France from Leeds-Bradford at 10am on Friday, arriving back at 1.30am on Saturday, after a midnight departure.
A similar schedule worked last season, when Rhinos won 27-12, despite having Ryan Bailey sent-off. Leeds’ head of athletic performance Jason Davidson said: “I think players can handle it now. The benefits of going on the day are that they get to sleep in their own beds before the game and when they come back.
“Not only are we going over there, doing the job, getting the game done and then coming back, we are getting ready for Huddersfield the week after as well.
“There’s been times when we’ve gone out on the Thursday and returned on the Sunday and we’ve come up with a couple of injuries.
“We’ve done it in a day as well and come up with some injuries. It happens, we just have to look after the players and make sure they have the right preparation to cope.”
The team will be flying back to England just two hours after the final hooter and Davidson added: “There’s risks in anything you do.
“We will hopefully get through the game unscathed and get their bodies prepared after the game and on the way back, so we are taking all the precautions we can.
“The flight is only two hours, so it is only like travelling by road from Manchester, so it’s not a bad thing.”
The alternative would have been to travel to France a day or two before the game, returning on Saturday.
That would have involved a flight to Barcelona and a coach transfer to Perpignan and would have given Rhinos less time to prepare for next week’s game.
“The problem with playing Catalan at this time of year is there’s no flights that go straight in there,” Davidson said.
“We would have to travel on the Wednesday or Thursday and then you’ve got the flight and a three-hour coach trip, then you’re in a bed that’s not your bed and you’ve got food you’re not used to eating.
“Going over there on the day gets rid of all that. We go from Leeds and have a two-hour flight and we’ll be in the hotel for lunchtime.
“The plan of action is we’ll have breakfast together at Headingley at 8am and then travel to the airport.
“Because we’ve chartered the plane we don’t have to be there two hours before, so that’s good.
“We’ll get to the hotel for 1.30pm and all the boys are checked in. They’ll eat together as soon as we get there and if somebody wants to get their head down they can do for three or four hours.
“That’s what they do when we are at home, so it is just a case of keeping them active in the morning, making sure they are looked after and getting them ready to play.”