Leeds Rhinos' Cyprus trip looks set to be axed

Leeds Rhinos' planned pre-season trip to Cyprus could be cancelled.

New coach Brian McDermott is considering pulling the plug on the warm-weather camp, which was due to take place less than a fortnight before the engage Super League season begins next month.

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Like all clubs, Rhinos' pre-season has been badly weather affected, but McDermott said he is not convinced a foreign break is what is required ahead of the new league campaign.

The amount of travel involved is also a factor. Rhinos' senior players are due to play a pre-season game against Crusaders in Wrexham on Friday, January 28, before travelling north to Whitehaven for a fund-raising dinner the following day.

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They will remain in Cumbria to watch a second-string Rhinos side face Whitehaven on February 1 and were then set to fly to Cyprus for five days before the Super League kick-off against Bradford Bulls in Cardiff on Sunday, February 13.

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McDermott said that amount of travelling is not ideal, but he

added: "It's not the main reason.

"I just don't know if it (the camp in Cyprus) is what we need.

"The staff are going to sit down and talk about it and no definite call has been made yet.

"We haven't finalised the bookings yet, so we can leave it a bit later.

"We have got to make sure we are ready for the start of the season – we aren't going to do something just because because that's what normally happens.

"If we do something, it'll be because that's what the team needs.

"There's a fair chance we won't be going to Cyprus, but we haven't called it off yet.

"We will do something as a bit of final preparation in pre-season, to make sure we are a strong unit and we are all thinking the same way."

The 40-22 New Year's Day win over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats has given Rhinos plenty to work on, McDermott said.

"I was pretty pleased with the outcome," he said. "We have reviewed it and there's still some areas to improve.

"We set ourselves some little goals and we did those and some of the young fellas got a run as well.

"It was great timing, with new staff and new players and a new regime. It has helped us say to the players 'we want you to do this – and by the way, it works'.

"We have used it as a coaching tool for ourselves."

McDermott has confirmed that the Crusaders game at the end of the month will be his front-line players' only other hit-out before the Magic Weekend kick-off.

McDermott fielded a strong squad against Wakefield and he said: "We've a few under-20s trial games, which we may play a few of our seniors in to give them a bit of game time, but Crusaders is our main friendly."

Rhinos travel to Hunslet Hawks on January 16 and visit Featherstone Rovers seven days later, before the Crusaders/Whitehaven weekend.

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