Leeds Rhinos: Boss Mac is on guard as holders draw Huddersfield

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott
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LEEDS RHINOS will play Huddersfield Giants twice in three matches after drawing their West Yorkshire rivals in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

Castleford Tigers are also involved in an all-Super League tie, away to Hull and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will have home advantage against Kingstone Press Championship leaders Leigh Centurions.

Other ties include Dewsbury Rams at home to Warrington Wolves, Batley Bulldogs at Widnes Vikings and Featherstone Rovers making the trip to Catalans Dragons.

Rhinos visit Huddersfield in Super League in nine days’ time, with the Cup tie scheduled for two weeks later, on the weekend of May 15-17

Huddersfield were the last team to beat Leeds in the Challenge Cup , winning a fifth round clash 24-8 at John Smith’s Stadium two years ago.

Giants were Rhinos’ bogey club, going seven games unbeaten against the Headingley outfit before the current Cup holders recorded a 28-24 home victory two months ago.

“They are a good team, that’s a challenge,” was Rhinos boss Brian McDermott’s reaction to the draw.

“They are a big team. They are not where they need to be in the league at the moment, they have been a bit inconsistent, but we have got a lot of respect for them, their players and their coaches.

“They are very well-coached and they have individual attacking players who can hurt any team. We are wary of this one.”

McDermott said the Super League meeting next week will be chance for the sides to get a close look at each other.

“We’ll get to trade punches and work each other out, but we’ve already played each other once,” he said.

“They are in better shape now than when we played them the last time, but I am sure after that [next week’s] game we’ll have a better idea leading into the Cup tie.”

Rhinos and Tigers enter the revamped tournament at the sixth round stage after finishing in Super League’s top-eight last year.

“It’s tough,” Cas skipper Michael Shenton said of the trip to KC Stadium. “It is always a tough place to go, they like playing at home.

“We will have to be on our game when we go there, but Cup football is a bit different to the league, it is all about getting the result, putting everything into it and getting the job done.”

Tigers were runners-up in 2014 and Shenton added: “We know what a Cup run can do for you. We want to go back and do what we didn’t get done last year.”

Cas coach Daryl Powell said: “We got Wigan away at this stage last year and it will be similar.

“It will be tough, but if you are going to get anywhere you’ve got to win big games. There’s no point worrying about it, it’s a tough game, get on with it.”

Wildcats ended an eight-game losing run with victory at home to Halifax, who are fourth in the Championship, last Friday.

But coach James Webster reckons they are facing a tougher task next time, against a Leigh side who lost just twice last season and eliminated Super League Salford Red Devils three days ago.

“They are a really good side,” Webster said. “They showed that on the weekend and they are confident because they are winning every week.

“They will be an unbelievably tough team to beat, but I am happy we are at home - you can’t ask for any more in a Challenge Cup draw.”

Leigh prop Oliver Wilkes and winger Liam Kay are both former Wakefield players and Webster is looking forward to a reunion with their ex-NRL star FuiFui MoiMoi.

“I played with FuiFui at Parramatta,” he recalled. “It will be good to see him.

“They have recruited well, with FuiFui and Gareth Hock and they have got good half-backs and strong forwards.

“They are a strong team and a fast team and it will be a good tie. I think there’ll be a lot of interest in it.”