McDermott rests three, but says Leeds will not go easy on Quins
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Saturday 20 August 2011
The Leeds coach, Brian McDermott, has wrapped three of his most battle- hardened forwards in cotton wool in preparation for next Saturday's Challenge Cup final. Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Ryan Bailey have all been rested from today's preliminary trip to London, to play Harlequins at The Stoop.
But McDermott, going back to the capital to face his former club for the first time, denies that the Rhinos will be soft-pedalling the week before they take on Wigan at Wembley. "Unless we go at it really hard, we will come away from the game frustrated," he said, stressing that Leeds still have ambitions to finish as high as fourth in Super League.
His selection gives a number of players who have been on the fringes of the team recently – such as Brett Delaney, Zak Hardaker, Jay Pitts, Paul McShane and Lee Smith – a chance to stake a late claim.
Quins are starting to look to next season, with the signings of the Australian forwards, Shane Rodney and Antonio Kaufusi, on three-year contracts this week.
Harlequins will remember, however, beating Leeds at Headingley during their purple patch at the start of this season and will be hoping to draw some inspiration from that victory. They have Oliver Wilkes, Ben Bolger and Karl Pryce back in their squad.
Later today, Wakefield host Castleford in what has become one of the game's great derby rivalries. Cas have a top-eight place to protect and have Rangi Chase back from his delayed court case in Australia to contribute to the cause. Richie Mathers, Steve Snitch and Ryan Hudson are also back in contention.
Wakefield would love to get off the foot of the table between now and the end of the season. They have Liam Higgins and Jarrad Hickey available to augment their front row.
Warrington have Lee Briers back for their trip to the Catalan Dragons, but Adrian Morley is still struggling with symptoms from his head injury and Brett Hodgson, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood and Rhys Evans are all ruled out.
The Catalans add Steve Menzies and Jamal Fakir to the squad which was surprisingly heavily beaten at Hull last weekend.
Tomorrow, Crusaders try to make it an unlikely three wins in a row since their demise was announced. A newly confident Hull are their visitors, so the hat-trick of victories may be beyond them. If Hull do slip up in Wrexham, Hull KR could displace them in the top eight by beating St Helens.
Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband
Do you qualify – and how do you get it?
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Phil Hughes: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich: Nasri admits City stars will be sold if they fail in Europe
- 2 Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police