Wakefield Trinity v Leeds Rhinos: Cavalry back to boost Rhinos says Richard Agar
One win doesn’t make a season, but two would be a big step towards Leeds Rhinos’ Betfred Super League survival.
Tenth-placed Rhinos will go four points clear of bottom club London Broncos, who face leaders St Helens on Sunday, if they win at Wakefield Trinity this evening.
After the Magic Weekend success against London it is another opportunity to complete back-to-back victories for the first time in more than a year.
But interim coach Richard Agar is refusing to heap too much pressure on his players and insisted he is concentrating more on performance than outcome.
“We are focusing on the areas we need to improve on and making sure we are getting through the right processes during the week to win rugby games,” Agar stressed. “We have identified the areas we need to be good at and better at and we have set some tangible targets on the standards we have to hit to do that. There’s a really strong commitment from the boys to keep fighting and improving the situation.
“We have got some cavalry arriving this week so we are looking forward to it and we are certainly not feeling burdened by any pressure.”
Leeds have crumbled when challenged this year and that is something Agar is determined to avoid.
“You could see in the last game that when a bit of pressure came on us, at times we didn’t handle that well,” he said.
“We will keep working on that and keep working hard to make sure we can eradicate some of those anxieties and poor errors and poor management of situations.”
But Agar saw some positive signs against London.
“We defended well for long periods,” he added. “We had to do too much defending and that was self-inflicted, but I did think for long periods we looked quite comfortable on our line.
“The difficult one is when it fell apart, it fell apart in spectacular fashion, but I do think we can gain a lot of confidence from our first-half defensive display.
“I thought, for periods, when we delivered what we knew we could deliver, we looked quite threatening and dangerous with the ball.”
Trinity are on a three-game losing run including a Coral Challenge Cup exit at St Helens six days ago, but have beaten Rhinos twice this season already and Agar is wary of their threat.
“They are a mixed bag,” he said of his former club.
“Looking from week to week and performance to performance, a lot of their games are very different.
“I am sure Chris [Chester, Trinity’s coach] will be looking at consistency, but even in defeat against Catalans I thought for long periods they defended really well.
“They went with a few changes to the team and they have had changes to the spine in particular.
“Over a number of weeks they have struggled to get a settled outfit out there, but one thing is for certain about Wakefield, they will have a crack with the ball.
“They ask a lot of questions right throughout the field. I think they might be number one in scoring tries from within their own half, so they are capable of scoring long-range tries and they have speed in the team, but their mindset and ability to make decisions has been really successful for them this year.
“We know defensively we are going to get asked a lot of questions so the key for us is to turn the ball over on our terms.”
Meanwhile, Rhinos’ game at Castleford Tigers next month has been brought forward two days to Friday, July 5, for live coverage on Sky Sports.