Leeds Rhinos v Featherstone Rovers: Featherstone aim to turn up the heat at Headingley

Misi Taulapapa.
Misi Taulapapa.
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FEATHERSTONE ROVERS captain Misi Taulapapa is confident Headingley’s unique atmosphere will inspire the Kingstone Press Championship underdogs tomorrow.

Taulapapa is one of several Rovers men who will be playing at the famous ground for the first time.

Josh Hardcastle.

Josh Hardcastle.

The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final against Leeds Rhinos is an opportunity for them to show what they can do opposite a top Super League team and Taulapapa, who played in the NRL for New Zealand Warriors and Cronulla Sharks before joining Sheffield Eagles in 2010, insisted they are relishing treading the big stage in front of the live Sky Sports cameras.

“It will be my first time playing at Leeds and I am really excited,” said the winger who is in his second season at Featherstone.

“I can’t wait to tick this box off. Playing against the best players is the best feeling.

“It is a reality check and playing against people like that brings the best out of players as well.

“We are looking forward to it. We’ve got one kid, Josh Hardcastle, this time last year he was playing local rugby and he will probably be playing against Kallum Watkins this weekend.

“He wouldn’t have expected that and he probably won’t believe he is there playing, but it is something he will probably remember for the rest of his life.

“Hopefully he turns up and takes his chance. He is a great kid and I am sure he will be raring to go.”

Rovers are fourth in the Championship and on course for a second successive appearance in the middle-eights Qualifiers.

They lost all seven games last year, including a 62-6 home defeat by Rhinos, but Taulapapa reckons they have improved since then.

He added: “We will just do our best and we are looking forward to the challenge.

“It is a great achievement for the club and hopefully we can perform on the day.

“There is no pressure on us at all, it is just about turning up with the right attitude.

“Any team that turns up the right attitude will win the game, Super League or not.

“That’s what we are focusing on – turning up, staying relaxed and playing to our game plan.”

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