England v Exiles: Leuluai won’t hold back on Leeds Rhinos pals

Kylie Leuluai (left) with Mark O'Meley.
Kylie Leuluai (left) with Mark O'Meley.
Have your say

BIG-HITTER Kylie Leuluai has pledged not to hold back if he gets Leeds Rhinos team-mates in his sights this evening.

The Rhinos prop will face Ryan Hall, Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock for the first time when he lines up for Exiles against England in the International Origin match at Headingley Carnegie.

The five Leeds players on duty – hooker Danny Buderus will captain Exiles – could be on the same side in two days’ time when Rhinos are at home to Hull KR in Engage Super League.

But Leuluai – one of the Exiles substitutes – said he won’t hesitate to put a good shot on, if he gets a chance.

“I’ve definitely got speed on JP (Peacock) – and age is on my side,” Leuluai joked.

“I have never played against him before, so it will be a good challenge up front.

“I won’t be thinking about who’s in their team. It is like that every week, you’ve got friends – and I’ve got family as well – who play on opposite sides.

“You don’t look at who you are up against, you just do your best, no matter who it is.

“At the end of the day you have to do your job, so I’ll do whatever’s required.”

Exiles coach Brian McClennan – the former Leeds boss – has selected a powerful team, packed with ex-Test stars.

“We just want to be competitive,” Leuluai said. “It is a good concept, not just for England. It is good for them, preparing for the Four Nations, but for us overseas players, it is a good chance to play in a rep’ side.

“I know a lot of players thought they should have been in there or wanted to be in there and I am pretty sure next year everyone will put their hand up to play.”

Leuluai is one of two Samoan representatives in a team made up mainly of Aussies and Kiwis.

“We are representing imports,” he said. “We want to show that there are some good-quality overseas players in the (Super League) competition.”

Playing an international on home turf at at Headingley Carnegie is an added attraction for Leuluai. He said: “It will be strange going right not left into the changing rooms. But Headingley is a good venue for any game.

“I know all our (Exiles) players love playing there, so hopefully it will be a good occasion and the fans turn up and support the game.”

CarPlan – sponsors of the International Origin match - have agreed a deal with RFL to freeze all admission prices.

Pre-purchase admission prices from £19 for adults and £12 concessions will now apply at the Headingley Carnegie turnstiles.

England captain Jamie Peacock, above, said: “It is going to be one of the games of the season.

“Sponsors CarPlan deserve some credit in creating this excellent ticket offer for the fans and let’s hope it will entice those fans to get along.

“The players on both sides are totally committed to putting on a great contest and it is now up to the fans to be part of this special occasion.”

Meanwhile, Rhinos coach Brian McDermott will name his initial 19 for Sunday’s game this afternoon and Leuluai said he is available, if required.

Rhinos are on a two-match losing run and the big prop admitted: “The last couple of weeks have been disappointing. But there were some positives to take out of the game (against St Helens) last Friday.

“Even the Warrington game as well. We know the areas we need to work on and if we can fix those areas, we will be all right.”

Leeds Rhinos' Kallum Watkins.' Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe'4th May 2018.

Kallum Watkins’ season over for Leeds Rhinos due to ACL injury