Hot air may save Leeds Rhinos v Wakefield Wildcats festive challenge

Rugby union hot air could help salvage Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats' festive season.

Rhinos' charity challenge game against Wildcats – which was scheduled for yesterday – has been re-arranged for New Year's Day afternoon (3pm).

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It will now form the second part of a double-header, with Leeds Carnegie's Guinness Premiership visit of Gloucester kicking off two hours earlier.

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The Boxing Day game was postponed due to a frozen playing surface, but Leeds Rugby chief executive Gary Hetherington said he is confident the ground will be fit for Saturday.

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He revealed the dual-code club were hoping to borrow one of union governing body Premier Rugby's hot air covers to boost attempts to thaw out the pitch.

"They have got three hot air balloons," Hetherington said.

"They are normally allocated to clubs who have a televised game.

"Our match against Gloucester is not being televised, but we have been in discussions with them and there's a fair chance we could get one of these covers, which heat up the pitch.

"One has been up at Newcastle, thawing out the pitch for Carnegie's game there (this afternoon).

"We're hoping it will come down from Newcastle on Monday and we'll be able to use it during the week."

Yesterday was the first time since 1996 – the first year of Super League, when there were no festive

Paul Heckingbottom speaks to the media.

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