Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers - all you need to know about big Super League derby
Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers will trek to St Helens on Friday for an intriguing Betfred Super League derby.
Both teams are looking to build on a round one win last weekend, but who will have a Good Friday and which side will be left with Easter egg all over their face?
Here’s all the essential information about the big game.
Fixture: Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers.
At: TW Stadium St Helens (Rhinos ‘home’ game).
On: Friday, April 2
Coverage: Sky Sports. Our League for season ticket holders.
Tickets: No admission for fans - the game will be played behind closed doors.
Tigers coach: The longest-serving coach in Super League, former Leeds player and team boss Daryl Powell, 55, took charge of Tigers in 2013 after a successful spell at Featherstone Rovers. He starred for Sheffield Eagles, Keighley Cougars - where he was player coach - and Great Britain before ending his playing days with Rhinos. He has confirmed he will leave Tigers at the end of this season.
Tigers star man: Full-back has been a problem area for Tigers since Zak Hardaker’s departure at the end of 2017, but Niall Evalds seems to be the solution. Signed from Salford Red Devils on an initial one-year deal, Evalds can defend, has pace and is a prolific try scorer.
Key battle: With Danny Richardson set to return in the halves for Tigers, Paul McShane will revert to hooker and the reigning Man of Steel faces a pivotal battle with Rhinos’ acting-half duo of Kruise Leeming and super-sub Brad Dwyer.
Form: Tigers slumped to eighth place in Super League last year, having been second before the Covid shutdown. They began this year in impressive style with a 21-12 defeat of Warrington Wolves at Emerald Headingley last Sunday, when Paul McShane, Niall Evalds and Jake Trueman all impressed.
Previous meeting: October 26, 2020. Betfred Super League round 15. Leeds Rhinos 28 (Tries Seumanufagai, Gale, L Sutcliffe, T Briscoe, Martin. Goals Martin 4), Castleford Tigers 24 (Tries Eden 2, Watts, penalty. Goals Richardson 4). Referee: Tom Grant.
Last five results (most recent first): Rhinos WLWLW; Tigers WLWLL
Milestones: Rhinos’ Richie Myler, who reached 500 points in Super League last week, needs one more appearance for 250 in the competition. Team mate Brad Dwyer’s next game will be the 200th of his career. For Tigers, Michael Shenton - 400 - and Liam Watts - 300 - are one game away from a major career milestone. Shenton also needs eight points to reach 500 in Super League. Paul McShane will; make his 150th Tigers appearance this week and Peter Mata’utia needs one for a career 150.
Super League head to head: Leeds won 33 (includes the 2017 Grand Final and 2000 play-offs), Castleford won 23 (includes the 1999 play-offs). There have been three draws. Leeds’ highest score was 76-12 at home in 2009, which was also their widest winning margin. Castleford’s highest score and widest margin was 66-10 at the Jungle in 2017.
Rhinos injuries: Jack Walker (foot), Harry Newman (broken leg), Konrad Hurrell (calf), Ash Handley (knee) and Rob Lui (quad), Tom Holroyd (leg), Callum McLelland (groin).
Team news: The only change to Rhinos’ initial 21-man squad for last week is teenage centre Corey Hall’s inclusion in place of Kyle Eastmond who did not feature in the matchday 17. King Vuniyayawa, Sam Walters and Jarrod O’Connor retain their squad place after not playing in round one. Tigers are without Gareth O’Brien (concussion) and Jacques O’Neill from last week’s side and their places in the 21 are taken by Lewis Bienek - who could make his debut - and Lewis Peachey. Also included after not featuring last week are Danny Richardson, Tyler Hepi, Jesse Sene-Lefao and Greg Eden,
Leeds Rhinos: from T Briscoe, Gale, Oledzki, Leeming, Prior, Mellor, Martin, Tetevano, Dwyer, L Sutcliffe, Myler, Smith, Vuniyayawa, Thompson, A Sutcliffe, Walters, L Briscoe, Donaldson, O’Connor, Broadbent, Hall.
Castleford Tigers: from Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Blair, Milner, Massey, Griffin, Hepi, Sene-Lefao, D Smith, Eden, Turner, Bienek, Peachey.
Referee: Liam Moore (Wigan).
Next game: Hull KR v Castleford Tigers (Betfred Challenge Cup third round, Friday, April 9, at Hull College, Craven Park. 6pm), St Helens v Leeds Rhinos (Betfred Challenge Cup third round, TW Stadium St Helens, 2.30pm).
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