CAPTAIN DANNY McGuire admitted Leeds Rhinos’ were “delighted” to be drawn at home to Kingstone Press Championship survivors Featherstone Rovers in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
It is Leeds’ third home tie against lower division opposition this season after a 64-28 win over Doncaster and yesterday’s 72-10 rout of another League One side Barrow Raiders.
“Obviously we’re delighted with the draw,” McGuire said.
“It is what you’d choose – everyone will have been after that draw, but we will prepare like we have against the other lower league teams so far and give Featherstone the respect they deserve.”
Rhinos were paired with lower division opposition only twice from 2010 to this season – facing Leigh both times – and McGuire added: “It’s like buses, you wait ages and then they all come at once.
“We have got there the hard way a few times so I suppose we were due a nice run, but Featherstone have got some good players and some of our ex-players so it won’t be easy.”
Boss Brian McDermott was also happy to have drawn Rhinos’ partner club, who are the only Championship team left in the competition.
He said: “For years we couldn’t get away from Super League opposition. Since I’ve been coach we’ve been to Wembley four times and I think we’ve played one Championship team, in Leigh. I don’t feel bad about drawing another Championship team. Featherstone are a good team and they’ll be pushing for the middle-eights and Super League status.
“We’ll pay them a fair amount of respect.”
Rovers coach Jon Sharp was at Leeds’ tie yesterday and is relishing the trip to Headingley. He said: “It is a fairytale game for us. Some of our players have never played there and they will be absolutely delighted with it.
“When you get to the quarter-finals you know whoever you get is going to be a tough challenge and it will certainly be a David and Goliath affair. There is no pressure on us or expectation. We can go there and enjoy the occasion.”
Super League leaders Castleford Tigers were drawn away to holders Hull and Wakefield Trinity will visit Salford. The other tie – on the weekend of June 16-18 – sees Warrington Wolves play host to Wigan Warriors.
Both McGuire and McDermott were happy with the way Rhinos handled yesterday’s game. McGuire said: “We played some really nice stuff at times and scored some good tries. Barrow had a real dig, fair play to them.
“I am sure they will have enjoyed the experience and I have to give them a lot of credit for sticking at it.”
Rhinos had been outscored by Doncaster in the second half of their previous Cup tie and McGuire said: “We talked about that.
“We wanted to be professional and do a job. We were able to make a few changes and rotate a bit towards the end as well, so all in all we are really pleased.”
McDermott described himself as “very pleased” and said: “We didn’t do a good enough job against Doncaster in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago.
“To score 72 points is good and to do a complete job is pleasing - and we didn’t come out with any injuries.
“Tom Briscoe has got a bit of a twisted knee and Danny McGuire came off with a tight quad, but nothing sinister.”