A very Happy Meal - how Leeds Rhinos, in full kit, celebrated Challenge Cup final win with McDonald's at motorway services

Leeds Rhinos' jubilant players toasted their Wembley triumph with fast food at a motorway services - in their full kit - coach Richard Agar has revealed.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 8:32 pm

Coronavirus restrictions meant very different celebrations for Rhinos after they beat Salford Red Devils behind closed doors in the Coral Challenge Cup final.

Normally the winning team have a meal and party at a hotel in the London area before returning north, usually worse for wear, for a homecoming with fans the following day.

But, Agar revealed festivities this time were held in the Wembley changing rooms, on the coach home on Saturday evening - and in McDonald’s during a stop off at Tibshelf Services on the M1 in Derbyshire.

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Rhinos captain Luke Gale lifts the Challenge Cup at Wembley. Picture by Michael Steele/Getty Images.

“We stayed in the changing rooms for about an hour and a half, having a drink and pictures taken - and then the Wembley people came and said ‘you’re going to have to go’,” Agar revealed.

“So the boys said ‘let’s just get on the bus, in our kit’.

“So they got on the bus in their kit, boots, medals round their necks.

“We stopped at an off licence and picked up some Champagne and shared a beer together on the way back in their kit.”

Agar and assistant James Webster travelled on the players’ coach, with the rest of the staff making the journey home on a second bus, to maintain social distancing.

Agar added: “We went to the services and had a McDonald’s - so they were all walking off in their boots and their kit and they took the Cup in with them.

“It was probably a bit surreal for the people at the services.

“We got home about 11pm and all the wives and girlfriends were waiting in the car park.

“While it was very different, it was a brilliant three or four hours together.

“It was a wonderful, memorable occasion.

“We missed celebrating with our fans afterwards and having our friends and family there.

“We wanted to make it as memorable as we could.

“To get those boys together for those three or four hours, in the changing rooms and then the sanctity of the team bus, I think they will remember that bus journey and those celebrations all their lives.

“Despite it being different, it was very, very special.”

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Laura Collins