Leeds Rhinos: Leuluai can’t wait to tackle his fifth and last Cup final

Kylie Leuluai
Kylie Leuluai
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VETERAN FORWARD Kylie Leuluai is delighted to be heading for a fifth Challenge Cup final appearance, in the last year of his playing career.

“With this being my last year, it is special,” Leuluai said of the showpiece against Hull KR at Wembley on August 29. “It is really good to get back there and hopefully we’ll enjoy the weekend. I have played in a few [finals], but only won one, so it would be nice to get another medal. It would be good for me, JP [Jamie Peacock] and Kev [Sinfield], but it is not about us, it is about the team. We have to get the next three games out of the way before we can start to think about the final.”

Rhinos showed two sides to their character in Friday’s semi-final against St Helens, dominating the first half to lead 12-4 at the break and then having to dig deep when Saints rallied – getting to within four points at one stage – in the final 40.

Boss Brian McDermott hailed the first quarter as the best this Leeds team has played and Leuluai said: “It was a big start, which was needed.

“It was always going to swing their way at some stage in the game and you can never take anything for granted in the Challenge Cup. It always goes right to the 80th minute, but we are very happy to be through.”

Leeds have now beaten Saints three times this season, but Leuluai warned: “They put up a good fight for the whole game, especially considering they have got a few top players missing. I think they will be right come the play-offs and the Super-8s, when we play them again.”