Leeds Rhinos: Challenge Cup heartache is not in our minds - Leuluai

Rob Burrow congratulates Kylie Leuluai on scoring a try.
Rob Burrow congratulates Kylie Leuluai on scoring a try.
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BIG prop Kylie Leuluai insists Leeds Rhinos aren’t treating the Carnegie Challenge Cup as unfinished business.

Leuluai was a member of the Rhinos team crushed 30-6 by Warrington Wolves at Wembley last August.

But he said nobody in the camp is talking about that disappointment as Leeds prepare to begin their latest cup campaign at home to Crusaders on Saturday.

Leeds will go into the fourth- round tie on the back of three straight wins and Leuluai stressed that maintaining that momentum is important.

“We got to the final last year and that was a great achievement, but we didn’t do the job on the day,” Leuluai said.

“But it has never really been in my mind to go there and finish the job off. My focus is on the team playing well.

“If we play well, those things will happen. We aren’t looking too far down the track, it is about what’s in front of you.

“We have got Crusaders in the Challenge Cup on Saturday and the week after it will be Catalan. As a team we are just trying to be the best we can every week and in each game we play.

“Hopefully that will lead us to great things.”

The fourth round’s only all top- flight tie is a repeat of the Easter Monday Super League clash, which Rhinos won 34-16.

Leuluai said: “What happened last time won’t have any bearing on Saturday. That was two weeks ago, this is a different competition and it’ll be a completely different game.”

The three wins over Easter have revitalised Rhinos’ season. Leuluai feels a better work ethic has been at the heart of their improvement.

“Attitude to defence has been the big thing,” he said. “Finally we have got the structure and systems as to how we should defend and we have got the attitude too.

“We have taken three steps forward since the Bradford game. In the second half of that game we had great defence, it was good against Crusaders and against Castleford last week.

“Hopefully if we turn up with that attitude and mentality on Saturday, things will go right for us.”

Leuluai reckons Rhinos’ improving injury situation has also contributed to their upswing in form.

Coach Brian McDermott was able to rest Danny Buderus and Ryan Bailey at Castleford last week and could make more changes on Saturday.

Leuluai said: “We have got the depth, we can rest players and bring in new blood and fresh legs and they are capable of doing a great job.”

Josh Charnley, Vassos Alexander, Chris Evans and Jamie Jones-Buchanan with the Challenge Cup.

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