Leeds Rhinos: Veteran Leuluai confident his body is up to the task this year

Kylie Leuluai.
Kylie Leuluai.
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Despite his looming 36th birthday, Leeds Rhinos prop Kylie Leuluai insists he is still enjoying his rugby and has got plenty more to offer.

Leuluai, who made his 218th appearance for Rhinos in last Friday’s 12-12 draw at Huddersfield Giants, revealed he is still feeling the effects of some knocks picked up last year, but reckons he is reasonably happy with his form so far this term – and said he will continue playing until he feels he can no longer contribute to the team.

“I am going all right,” said Leuluai, whose birthday is March 29. “I am carrying a couple of niggly injuries from last year and I think that comes with age – you don’t heal as quickly as you used to!

“But I am still enjoying it, if I wasn’t still enjoying it and loving what I am doing I would not be out there. I am going out there and doing my job and if you can’t fulfil your role in the team you should not be out there.

“I won’t slow up while I am still competing for a spot in the team. I have got personal goals for myself and I have to achieve those. Once I feel I am not up to it, that is when I will stop. My body will have the final say on that, but at the moment I am enjoying the challenge.”

According to Leuluai, the challenge for Rhinos this week is to improve on last Friday’s battling display.

“One point’s better than none,” he said.

“We can’t complain. Huddersfield played really well and we missed a few opportunities in good ball.

“We didn’t complete our sets and we can work on that. If we can complete those sets and put a bit more pressure on them it will be better for us.

“Defensively we put ourselves under pressure, because we weren’t completing our sets and we didn’t dominate the ruck – we lost our tackles.

“There’s always areas to work on and that’s one of them. We will need to be better this week – but there’s always areas you have to improve, no matter whether you win or lose.”

Leeds – who are at home to Widnes Vikings on Friday - remain unbeaten, with three wins and a draw from their opening four games.

“It is still early days,” Leuluai added. “There’s a long way to go until October, so we will just plug away, take it week in and week out and hopefully continue to improve.”

Giants, marshalled by Danny Brough, had won their previous five games against Leeds, but Leuluai said ending that streak will have no bearing on Rhinos’ season.

“We haven’t really looked at that, it has not been in our minds,” he stated. “We don’t look at the history of how we have played against teams in the past.

“It is about turning up for the game and competing.”

Matt Parcell

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