Richard Agar dedicates Leeds Rhinos’ semi-final victory to Rob Burrow and Harry Newman

LEEDS RHINOS’ stunning Coral Challenge Cup semi-final win was dedicated to club legend Rob Burrow and injured centre Harry Newman.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 4th October 2020, 4:45 pm

The pair were at the front of coach Richard Agar’s thoughts after his men booked a place at Wembley – to face Salford Red Devils on Saturday, October 17 – with an emphatic 26-12 conquering of Wigan Warriors.

Burrow – a try scorer the last time Rhinos won the Cup, in 2015 – is battling motor neurone disease and Newman will miss the final and the rest of this season with a broken leg suffered two weeks ago.

“I am thinking about Rob and Harry,” Agar said in his post-match press conference. “Harry has come over [to the game] on his sticks and while it will really hurt him not being part of the Challenge Cup final, I would like to dedicate this performance to those two blokes, one of whom was here and the other who will have been at home watching.”

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Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar. Picture: Steve Riding.

Agar has coached at Wembley with Hull and Warrington Wolves and transformed Rhinos from a side struggling against relegation to one sitting in Betfred Super League’s top-four and 80 minutes away from a major trophy.

He insisted: “I am really proud to coach this famous club. The Challenge Cup holds a lot of fondness and memories for me so on a personal level I am over the moon, but I am more pleased for the players.

“They have believed in each other, supported each other, rode out some difficult days and always stuck together. I am proud of the spirit we have developed internally and the good guys that exist within this team.”

Rhinos were in command from the start and led 26-0 before Wigan scored two late consolation tries.

Rob Burrow. Picture: Steve Riding.

“We have got some young players who are going to experience a really big game,” Agar added. “We have some guys who are over here having left their families during the Covid situation, which is very difficult.

“We have two half-backs who are over 30 and have played for a long time and are wonderful blokes and really deserve to experience a game like this.

“We have a multitude of reasons why motivation wasn’t going to be an issue – it was just a case of executing what we’d practiced really well all week.”

Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman is stretchered off after fracturing his leg against Hull KR last month. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.