Leeds Rhinos: Young Academy stars looking for an Aussie upset

Robbie Ward.
Robbie Ward.
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NINE PLAYERS with Super League experience have been named in Leeds Rhinos’ academy side to face the touring Australian Schoolboys at Headingley Carnegie tomorrow (7pm).

The Leeds team will be captained by Yorkshire Evening Post Shooting Star Robbie Ward and also includes Liam Sutcliffe, who was a member of this year’s Challenge Cup final-winning side.

Others with first-team experience are Ashton Golding, Ash Handley, Thomas Minns, Robbie Mulhern, Jordan Baldwinson, Elliot Minchella and Josh Walters.

Minns, Baldwinson and Mason Tonks will all join Featherstone Rovers on a one-year contract after tomorrow’s clash. Rhinos have stressed that all the players named in Tuesday’s side are qualified to play in the academy in 2014, though several will be over-age next season.

Ward, Minchella, Golding and Handley were expected to miss out after being named in the England squad for Saturday’s first Test against the Schoolboys at Leigh.

Leeds have never beaten Australian Schoolboys, who were 36-18 winners at Wigan Warriors on Saturday and began their tour with an 86-6 thrashing of England Combined Regional Academies.

Sutcliffe said: “Any time you get to play against an Australian touring side is a massive honour and we are looking forward to the game.

“In their entire history they have not lost many games, probably only a handful, so we will be looking to create our own piece of history as an under-19s team.

“Quite a number of us have gone on to play in Super League, but it will be great as a group to finish our academy time together with such a prestigious game. I hope all the Rhinos fans can turn out to see the game. The chance for all rugby league fans to see the future stars of the Australian game is a great opportunity too.”

Admission tomorrow is by a £2 donation to the Leeds Rhinos Foundation. The Main Stand will be open.

The Rhinos team is: Golding, Brierley, Minns, Norfolk, Handley, Sutcliffe, Lilley, Mulhern, R Ward, Baldwinson, Minchella, Walters, Milton. Subs Frankland, Tonks, Hallas, Sanderson, Barker.