Relief for Leeds Rhinos as Kirkstall base avoids major damage in Storm Ciara flood

Leeds Rhinos' Kirkstall training centre will be fully up and running on Wednesday - apart from the flooded all-weather pitch.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 6:00 am
Flooding has failed to seriously disrupt Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar's preparations for Friday's visit of Hull KR. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Club chief executive Gary Hetherington confirmed water from the nearby river Aire did get into the building, which houses Rhinos’ gym, meeting rooms and offices, but said flood gates installed to protect the complex have done a “pretty good job”.

The adjoining all-weather pitch was submerged when the river broke its banks during Storm Ciara on Sunday and the extent of the damage to that is not yet known.

Rhinos’ grass pitches on the Kirkstall site are waterlogged from heavy rain, but were not reached by flooding from the river.

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Leeds players were able to use the Kirkstall gym and combat room on Monday morning and Hetherington said: “The office staff should be back on Wednesday.

“There has been a big clean-up operation. Water did get in, but the barriers did their job pretty well.”

Of the 3g pitch, Hetherington said: “It is too early to assess the damage to that. All of it was under water [on Sunday]. The water has receded, but we won’t be able to assess the extent until it is completely cleared.”

The Leeds chief admitted to being relieved the situation is not much worse.

The Kirkstall complex was out of action for six months in 2016 following major flooding and Hetherington said: “That caused £1.5m of damage, but everything was replaced so if it got flooded again it would not be to the same extent.

“All the walls were plastered with water-resistant plaster and the floors are flagged, rather than the wooden floors there were before - but obviously the pitches we can’t do much about.”

Rhinos are preparing for a home game against Hull KR on Friday, after last Sunday’s Betfred Super League round two visit to Huddersfield Giants was postponed.

After working indoors at Kirkstall on Monday, the players’ field session later in the day was moved to Weetwood.

Hetherington said: The University have been terrific in being able to assist.”