Leeds Rhinos to play Bradford Bulls in JJB testimonial game
Leeds Rhinos will meet Bradford Bulls next January in a benefit match for Headingley legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
The Rugby Football League have granted Jones-Buchanan, who retired at the end of last season, a three-month testimonial for “services to the game”.
Bulls - who knocked Rhinos out of the Coral Challenge Cup last season in Richard Agar’s first game as Leeds coach - will visit Emerald Headingley on Sunday, January 12 (3pm).
That is the third Rhinos pre-season game to have been confirmed after the Boxing Day visit of Wakefield Trinity and a derby at partner club Featherstone Rovers on Friday, January 24.
Leeds are also expected to visit Betfred League One sides Doncaster and Hunslet.
Jones-Buchanan’s testimonial begins this month and runs until January.
Other events include a Christmas dinner at Headingley on Tuesday, December 10.
Jones-Buchanan made 421 appearances for Rhinos, winning seven Grand Finals.
He also featured in three league leaders’ shield successes, was a World Club champion three times and a Challenge Cup winner.
The 38-year-old forward was capped 11 times by England and played once for Great Britain.
“It has been an honour to play this great sport for over 20 years and to represent my home-town club and my country,” he said.
“I am hugely grateful to the RFL for granting me this testimonial and I would like to thank [Rhinos chief executive] Gary Hetherington, [chairman] Paul Caddick, all the directors of Leeds Rhinos and the people of Leeds who have supported me throughout my career.”
Of the showdown with Bulls, Jones-Buchanan added: “The games against Bradford were always some of my favourites and I hope that incredible derby atmosphere returns to Emerald Headingley for this fixture.
“It will be a great occasion and an opportunity for me to thank our loyal fans who have been amazing during my time at the Rhinos.”
Tickets for the testimonial game will go on sale next month. Places at the Christmas dinner, in Headingley’s new Emerald Suite, cost £65 for adults (£40 for children 16 or under) and include a three-course festive meal.