Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers: How mid-season changes have left Jamie Jones-Buchanan with history to beat in Challenge Cup derby

History is not on Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s side when it comes to getting his time as Leeds Rhinos’ interim-coach off to a flying start.

By Peter Smith
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 6:06 pm

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.

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Daryl Powell was appointed coach of Rhinos in April, 2001 and lost at Warrington Wolves, his current club, in his first game. Picture by Gererad Binks.

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.

Tom Briscoe scores his second try for Leeds in their 2018 defeat at Castleford which was Kevin Sinfield and James Lowes' first match in charge. Picture by Tony Johnson.

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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.

Richard Agar's reign as Rhinos coach began with a Cup defeat at Bradford in 2019. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

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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