Storm damage delays Leeds' opener

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The Independent Online

Leeds and London have had the start of their Super League season blown back by at least two days. The Broncos were due to play at Headingley tonight, but the match has been postponed until Sunday afternoon, because of storm damage to the ground's main stand.

Part of the stand was closed for last week's Challenge Cup tie against Hull KR, but it was supposed to be repaired in time for tonight's game.

"The contractors have been working on it, but the wind and rain have prevented them finishing the job," said the Rhinos' chief executive, Gary Hetherington, who is confident that it will be completed for Sunday.

Craig Smith is losing his battle to be fit to give the Wigan pack the aggression it lacked the last time they played Bradford. The New Zealand Test prop is seen as the man to match the Bulls up front tonight, after Wigan's forwards were humbled in October's Grand Final, but he twisted his ankle in the Challenge Cup tie against UTC and fears he will miss the re-match at the JJB Stadium.

The Wigan coach, Stuart Raper, has added Simon Haughton to his squad, but, if Smith is ruled out, he will have to start with either the veteran Harvey Howard or the relatively raw Ricky Bibey in the front row.

Denis Betts, the Wigan and Great Britain forward who retired after the Grand Final defeat, will say his farewells to the crowd before the match.

Bradford, who have never won at the JJB, have a hangover of their own to shake off after their defeat by Leeds in the Challenge Cup and they will have to do it without the suspended Leon Pryce, although Robbie Paul expects to be fit after a neck injury.

Matthew Rodwell has given Warrington an unexpected boost by insisting that he is fit to face Halifax on Sunday, despite an eye injury inflicted by a team-mate in last week's Cup defeat by St Helens.

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