Ava Seumanufagai will be fit for Leeds Rhinos’ Super League season opener

KEY FORWARD Ava Seumanufagai will be fit for Leeds Rhinos’ opening game of the season this weekend, coach Richard Agar has confirmed.
Ava Seumanufagai. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comAva Seumanufagai. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Ava Seumanufagai. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Seumanufagai suffered a knee injury during a trial game at Wigan Warriors eight days ago.

That was a scare for Rhinos who take on Hull at Emerald Headingley on Sunday in Betfred Super League round one, but Agar is confident the go-forward front-rower will be available.

“Ava’s knee is settling down all right,” Agar revealed.

Tom Briscoe. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMediaTom Briscoe. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia
Tom Briscoe. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia

“He will be back up and running this week.”

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Knee injury victims Tom Briscoe, Kruise Leeming and Dom Crosby have all been ruled out of the round one clash.

Briscoe is recovering after undergoing an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction last year.

Leeming was hurt in training two days before Christmas and is expected to miss the opening two rounds.

Kruise Leeming. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMediaKruise Leeming. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia
Kruise Leeming. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia

Crosby, who did not play at all in 2019, is training and could be available by the end of next month.

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Rhinos’ other casualty is centre/second-row Alex Sutcliffe who suffered a broken hand on the final day of Rhinos’ warm weather training camp in Spain two weeks ago.

Forwards Matt Prior and Cameron Smith have recovered from illness and are in contention for the league opener.

They missed the warm-up match at Wigan and Agar said: “We had a bug that went through the camp, it affected three or four players and a staff member.

“Kirkstall [Rhinos’ training base] seems to be a place where if you kick one, a few more limps as well!

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“Bugs seem to get around pretty quickly and we need to be vigilant when we get little outbreaks like this.

“But, touch wood, it is done and dusted.

“Matty is back up and running and trained all last week.”

Meanwhile, it was a tough afternoon for Chev Walker in the North East as a young Leeds Rhinos side were beaten 52-8 by Newcastle Thunder, writes DAN HAWKHEAD.

A hat trick from Adam Lawton proved Leeds’ undoing, but tries from Iwan Stephens and Liam Tindall showed the best of the next generation of Rhinos players.