Home contingent keeps Rhinos going


21st June 2013

Super League champions Leeds Rhinos will field an all-England qualified line-up against Huddersfield Giants on Sunday.

The Rhinos' overseas contingent of Brett Delaney, Kylie Leuluai and Joel Moon are either injured or suspended while Australian-born Mitch Achurch is a British-passport holder courtesy of his London-born mother.

Leeds, who had three 18-year-olds in the team that beat Widnes Vikings on Monday, could give debuts to two more teenagers after centre or second rower Alex Foster, 19, and loose forward Elliot Minchella, 17, were named in coach Brian McDermott's 19-man squad.

Even with the 35-year-old Jamie Peacock in the squad, the average age is just 24 and, if selected, Minchella would become the first Leeds player to appear for the club who was born in the Super League era.

In all, the Rhinos have 10 senior players unavailable but have been buoyed by news that Kevin Sinfield, Ryan Bailey and Kallum Watkins should all be back earlier than initially expected.

"We've got a bit to smile about but they're not back yet," McDermott said. "We've got a group of blokes we're confident with.

"Some of these young fellas have come in and done a cracking job so we go with them for a few weeks yet.

"This is the situation as it is. We're going to have to crack on and find solutions. It's pretty exciting really, a bit of a challenge."

The 19-man squad includes 15 products of the club's academy structure with only Achurch, Peacock, Ian Kirke and Zak Hardaker not developed by the Rhinos.