Leeds Rhinos v Catalans Dragons: All the essential information previewing tonight's Super League clash
Leeds Rhinos will bid to extend their winning ru to five games when they face Betfred Super League leaders Catalans Dragons for the first of successive meetings.
Both teams are in form, but Catalans' extra preparation could give them an edge.
Here's all you need to know about the big game.
Fixture: Leeds Rhinos v Catalans Dragons
Competition: Betfred Super League round 14.
At: Emerald Headingley.
On: Friday, July 9.
Coverage: Sky Sports and Our League for season ticket holders.
Tickets: The game is all-ticket with a 4,000 capacity. All tickets have been allocated to Leeds members.
Catalans coach: A former Hull, Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats player, Steve McNamara, 49, was Bulls' coach from 2006-2010 and England boss from 2010-2015. He then had stints as an assistant at Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors before joining Catalans in 2017. He steered them to their first major trophy, the Challenge Cup, the following year.
Catalans’ star man: Sam Tomkins is joint-leader in the Man of Steel standings and earned a recall to the England squad for last month’s international. Catalans place at the top of the table owes much to the full-back’s superb form this year
Key battle: For the first time since last November’s play-offs loss to Catalans, Rhinos could field their first-choice half-back pairing of Rob Lui and Luke Gale. They will have to be at their best, opposite Dragons’ James Maloney and Josh Drinkwater.
Catalans’ form: The French side are top of Super League and have lost only twice in all competitions this year. They are on a six-game winning run.
Previous meeting: November 13, 2020. Super League elimination play-off. Catalans Dragons 26 (Tries Davies, Langi, Folau, Mead. Goals Maloney 5), Leeds Rhinos 14 (Tries A Sutcliffe, L Sutcliffe, Hurrell. Goal Martin). Referee: Chris Kendall. At HJ Stadium, Warrington.
Last five results (most recent first): Rhinos WWWWL, Catalans WWWWW.
Super League head to head: Leeds have won 23 (includes wins in 2009 and 2012 play-offs), Catalans won 13 (includes wins in 2014 and 2020 play-offs). Leeds highest score was 60-12 at home in 2006. That is also their widest margin, along with a 58-10 home win the same year. Catalans’ highest score and widest margin was 46-16 at home in 2015.
Connections: Rhinos’ Richie Myler had a spell as a Catalans player. The French team’s winger Fouad Yaha was briefly in Leeds’ academy, but suffered a broken leg in his only game.
Milestones: Rhinos’ Brad Dwyer needs one appearance to reach 150 in Super League, Catalans’ James Maloney needs one appearance to reach 300 for his career.
Rhinos injuries: Jack Walker (foot), Harry Newman (broken leg), Zane Tetevano (Covid/Achilles), Alex Sutcliffe (ankle), Jack Broadbent (ankle)
Rhinos team news: Half-back Luke Gale (suspension), full-back Richie Myler (finger injury), back-rower Cameron Smith (hamstring) and prop King Vuniyayawa (concussion) are all back in contention and second-rower Sam Walters, who was not selected against Warrington on Monday, retains his place in the squad. Jack Broadbent drops out with an ankle injury.
Catalans team news: Dragons are without Gil Dudson, who was suspended following an incident in last Thursday’s win at Huddersfield Giants, but Sam Kasiano had a one-game suspension overturned on appeal and Joel Tomkins is available following a four-match ban. Alrix Da Costa, Paul Seguier, Matthieu Laguerre and Jordan Dezaria are vying for a call up, but Leeds-born hooker Michael McIlorum remains on the casualty list.
Leeds Rhinos: from T Briscoe, Hurrell, Handley, Lui, Gale, Oledzki, Leeming, Prior, Mellor, Martin, Dwyer, L Sutcliffe, Myler, Smith, Holroyd, Vuniyayawa, Thompson, Walters, L Briscoe, Donaldson, O’Connor.
Catalans Dragons: from Mourgue, Davies, Langi, Whare, Yaha, Maloney, Drinkwater, Bousquet, Whitley, McMeeken, Garcia, Da Costa, Jullien, Seguier, Goudemand, Laguerre, J Tomkins, Baitieri, Kasiano, S Tomkins, Dezaria.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).
Last game: Warrington Wolves 16, Leeds Rhinos 22 (July 5); Huddersfield Giants 12, Catalans Dragons 50 (July 1).
Next game: Catalans Dragons v Leeds Rhinos. Friday, July 16, 7.45pm UK time.
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