Leeds duo agree new contracts

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Leeds’ international half-backs, Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire, are set to play out their entire careers at Headingley after agreeing new, five-year contracts.

The two, who came through the Rhinos’ juniors together before becoming Super League’s most successful pairing, were both out of contract at the end of next season.

Their new deals will keep them at Leeds until 2013, by which time they will both be over 30.

“This is fantastic news for the Rhinos and for our future,” said the Leeds coach, Brian McLennan. “Rob and Danny are world-class players and for them to commit their careers to the club speaks volumes.”

Burrow, the Great Britain and England scrum-half, said: “This is the best club in the world and I don’t want to be anywhere else.”

McGuire, the equally gifted stand-off who followed him into the Rhinos’ first team, said: “I think this group of players is going to be successful in the years ahead and I want to be a part of that.”

McGuire and Burrow are both in Leeds’ team to play St Helens tonight in the most significant game of the Super League season so far.

The Rhinos’ lead at the top of the table is down to four points following last week’s shock defeat at Harlequins. Saints, with wins in their last ten games, can make that a mere two if they can win at Headingley.

Saints, who have let their centre, Steve Tyrer, go on a month’s loan to Widnes, hope to have Matt Gidley back. Widnes have also made Ben Kavanagh’s loan from Wigan into a permanent move.

McClennan has shown no inclination to panic after his side’s occasional setbacks and the only change he makes to his squad is to bring in Ryan Hall for Eric Anselme.

Hull KR will be without Scott Murrell for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder, whilst Doncaster’s former Australian Test player, Chris McKenna, has retired at 33 after a series of injuries.

Another player to agree a five-year contract extension is Huddersfield’s 18-year-old centre, Michael Lawrence.

Lawrence, who has impressed since making his breakthrough into the Giants’ first team this season, has also been named in the England Under-18 squad to tour Australia next month.

Simon Finnigan, the Bradford forward who was born in this country before his family emigrated to Australia, has been re-classified as a home-grown player for quota purposes.