Leeds fan Thomas Minns lines up against his home-town club when he returns to Headingley tonight. He is on loan with London Broncos.
Leeds fan Thomas Minns admits it will feel "weird" lining up against his home-town club when he returns to Headingley on Friday night.
Leeds Rhinos boss Gary Hetherington blasted 6 of his rival Super League chiefs after they thwarted a move to heal the rift in the game.
This weekend's all-Yorkshire Challenge Cup Final between Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers is expected to be a close encounter.
In preparation, organisers have already announced that should the scores finish level, Sheffield United's Bramall Lane will be used to host a replay between the sides on 3 September.
This year’s final is expected to be a close encounter, with the two teams drawing 24-24 in a First Utility Super League fixture at Leeds in July and the Rhinos only beating Castleford by eight points back in May.
The last time a Challenge Cup final went to a replay was the 1982 final between Hull FC and Widnes, when the original game at Wembley ended deadlocked at 14-14. The replay was staged to Elland Road, the home of Leeds United, and finished in a Hull FC victory, 18-9.
the most famous replay in Rugby League history was the Challenge Cup final replay held at Odsal Stadium in Bradford in 1954, which is well known for its attendance of over 102,000 supporters.
The game ended with a score line of 8-4 in favour of Warrington, who had drawn 4-4 with Halifax in the original final.
The last time Castleford and Leeds met in the Challenge Cup was in the 2011 semi-finals when once again the final score was extremely close, finishing in a 10-8 victory for the Rhinos.
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott knows his Challenge Cup final starting team but says places are still up for grabs on the bench.
Like his Castleford counterpart Daryl Powell, McDermott will take the opportunity to rest several of his regulars this weekend with one eye on the Wembley showdown with the Tigers on Saturday week.
Players like former England captain Jamie Peacock will be wrapped in cotton wool when the Rhinos take on relegated London Broncos at The Hive on Sunday as McDermott looks to kick off the final with the team that started the semi-final against Warrington.
"I'm reasonably close," McDermott said when asked at Thursday's press conference if he knew his best team. "I don't think I'd be surprising anybody if I was to name my starting 13 now. I think everyone can work that one out.
"But we're not pulling the drawbridge up on the bench. There's a couple of bench spots up for grabs this weekend."
McDermott reported no fresh injuries from the 24-16 win over the Wolves but several players will be given a chance to continue their recovery from lingering knocks.
Those in line to sit out Sunday's Super League game are Brett Delaney, Rob Burrow, Zak Hardaker, Kevin Sinfield and Carl Ablett, along with Peacock.
"There will be one or two rested, not a massive amount," McDermott said. "We had to stand a few down from the Bradford game and they didn't fully recover.
"We're going to put out a very competitive team for London. We want to go down there and get the points."
Sinfield, who returned last Saturday from a two-match ban, could be facing the prospect of playing only his second game in five weeks at Wembley but McDermott says he would have no issue over his skipper's match fitness. "I reckon Kev would be all right for the final even if he didn't play against London," he said. "In terms of fitness and match fitness, he's got enough miles on the clock.
"He's played hundreds and hundreds of games and he's like a few in the group that keep themselves in good nick. He enjoys training. Fitness is not part of the job for them it's a lifestyle."
While Castleford, who play Warrington on Friday night, will have a full week to prepare for the final, McDermott admits a short turnaround for his side is not ideal.
"If we'd have played Friday night, it might have helped but London weren't able to move the fixture," he said.
The imminent end of the Rugby League season is a blow softened only by the arrival of the Challenge Cup.
This weekend brings the semi-finals as Leeds take on Warrington and Castleford meet Widnes.
Both teams will have one eye on Wembley, but as Chris Dawkes reports, history has not been kind to either side of late:
The sides are level at the interval after an error strewn first half, Mitch Achurch scoring for the home side http://t.co/WYww8tSij2
Leeds Rhinos and England captain Kevin Sinfield will miss the next two games after being sent off for a headbutt in Thursday's draw with Castleford.
He had been facing a maximum three game ban after being charged with a Grade C offence, but submitted an Early Guilty Plea to the Rugby Football League.
It means although he will miss the games against Salford and Bradford he WILL be available for next month's Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington.
Leeds Rhinos fullback Zak Hardaker made his comeback last night in a 24-24 thriller with Castleford.
The England international has been out serving a five game ban for shouting homophobic abuse at a referee.
Hardaker has always insisted he is not homophobic, and as Mike Hall reports, he has found support from an unlikely quarter:
A parachutist made a dramatic landing at Headingley Carnegie Stadium ahead of tonight's game.
The score is currently a less thrilling 18-0 to the Rhinos.
Leeds have rewarded teenage forward Josh Walters for his impressive start to his Super League career with a new three-year contract.
Walters, 19, who made the switch from rugby union just over a year ago, has scored two tries in his four appearances so far and is set to continue his run against Wakefield on Friday night.
"It is fantastic to have agreed a new long-term contract with the club," Walters said.
"It was always a goal for me when I came over from Leeds Carnegie to earn a full-time contract but I cannot believe how well things have worked out for me."
Leeds coach Brian McDermott said: "Josh has been superb over the last year and thoroughly deserves his new contract.
"I am sure he will continue to develop and this is another great example of how the management of the club are looking to secure the long-term future of our club."
Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield has been named in the 19 man squad to face Wakefield Wildcats on Friday.
The 33-year-old missed Sunday's victory over Catalan Dragons.
The Rhinos will be without Carl Ablett (shoulder) and Mitch Achurch (groin) who both picked up injuries in Sunday's dramatic win.
They join Ian Kirke (concussion), Jamie Jones-Buchanan (calf), Chris Clarkson (Achilles), Rob Burrow (collar bone) and Zak Hardaker (suspension) on the sidelines.
Head Coach Brian McDermott has recalled youngsters Robbie Ward and Elliot Minchella to the squad whilst Luke Briscoe could feature against the team he played for on loan at the start of the current season.