Leeds get off to a flying start for trip to Catalans

Rugby League

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The Independent Online

Leeds hope their policy of chartering their own jet for a whistle-stop trip to Perpignan pays off with maximum points against Catalan Dragons today.

While the rest of the English Super League clubs spend two or even three nights on their annual trips to the south of France, the Rhinos have bespoke air transport to get them in and out of the city on the day of the game.

It is an approach that has paid off so far, with Brian McDermott’s men winning on each of their last three trips to the Stade Gilbert Brutus, and the coach believes it could be even more important this time with the hectic Easter programme coming up.

“There’s a lot of meticulous planning involved but it’s something we prefer to do and it’s a more efficient way of doing it,” McDermott said. “Sometimes we don’t treat our players as robustly as they should be treated, certainly in terms of travel.

“It’s worked well for us. I don’t think travelling on the day of the game is as detrimental as you would imagine, although I wouldn’t do it every single weekend.

“What it does do is help you recover for the following game. The players get to spend the night before they travel in their own bed and on the night of the game they’re back in their own bed again, albeit later than normal.”

Saturday’s meeting between the clubs will be the first since the Catalans ended Leeds’ play-off hopes with a dramatic 24-20 triumph at Headingley last September.

Leeds are still without their captain Kevin Sinfield, as well as prop Kylie Leuluai and winger Tom Briscoe, so Liam Sutcliffe, Ash Handley and Andy Yates keep their places following the win  over Wigan.

For the Catalans, Laurent Frayssinous recalls half-back Scott Dureau and threequarter Ben Pomeroy.