Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers: How mid-season changes have left Jamie Jones-Buchanan with history to beat in Challenge Cup derby
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When Jones-Buchanan was appointed on Monday, following Richard Agar’s resignation, it was Leeds’ fourth mid-season coaching change since Super League began 26 years ago. Daryl Powell, Kevin Sinfield/James Lowes and Agar all found themselves in a similar position - but none of them won their opening game.
April 12, 2001: Warrington Wolves 36, Leeds Rhinos 6.
Dean Lance was axed in the wake of a narrow home loss to Hull and Powell stepped up from a brief spell as youth boss to take charge.
His first game was a league meeting with Warrington at Wilderspool and Rhinos were demolished 36-6. It was young half-back Rob Burrow’s first time in the starting 13 and he marked the occasion with a sparkling solo try.
Powell’s maiden win as coach came four days later when Leeds beat Castleford 32-22 at Headingley.
July 8, 2018: Castleford Tigers 42, Leeds Rhinos 10.
After Brian McDermott’s record-breaking spell as Rhinos coach came to an end, former captain Kevin Sinfield returned to become director of rugby with James Lowes stepping up from assistant-coach to first team boss.
They took charge for the first time in a derby at Castleford and two tries by Tom Briscoe got Rhinos off to a positive start, but Leeds trailed 16-10 at half-time and conceded 26 unanswered points after the break.
Rhinos drew in a home game against Wakefield Trinity the following weekend and the new coaching team got their first win at the third attempt with a 34-0 success against Widnes Vikings.
May 11, 2019: Bradford Bulls 24, Leeds Rhinos 22.
Agar’s first game, after replacing the sacked Dave Furner, was a televised Challenge Cup tie when Leeds were embarrassed by Championship side Bradford Bulls.
Rhinos lost 30-8 at home to Castleford Tigers in Super League the following week before Agar got off the mark with a 24-22 Magic Weekend win over London Broncos at Anfield.
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