Date: Friday September 4, 2015
Venue: Headingley Carnegie Stadium
Leeds Rhinos 19 man squad: Ablett, Achurch, Briscoe, Burrow, Cuthbertson, Delaney, Garbutt, Hall, Hardaker, Keinhorst, Leuluai, McGuire, Moon, Peacock, Sinfield, Singleton, Walters, Ward, Watkins
St Helens 19 man squad: Amor, Burns, Flanagan, Greenwood, Jones, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Makinson, Masoe, Percival, Richards, Quinlan, Roby, Savelio, Swift, Thompson, Turner, Walmsley, Walsh, Wilkin
Last Five Meetings
Leeds Rhinos 24-14 St Helens (@Halliwell Jones Stadium) – Challenge Cup Semi Final, 2015
Leeds Rhinos 46-18 St Helens – Round 20, 2015
St Helens 16-41 Leeds Rhinos – Round 11, 2015
Leeds Rhinos 12-13 St Helens – Round 25, 2014
Leeds Rhinos 32-12 St Helens – Challenge Cup Fifth Round, 2014
St Helens could welcome back captain Jon Wilkin for their trip to Challenge Cup winners Leeds Rhinos.
The influential skipper hasn’t played since breaking his thumb in the victory over Warrington Wolves in July, and during that time the reigning Super League champions have slumped to four consecutive defeats.
“Obviously it’s been a horrendously difficult month for us for a number of reasons,” Wilkin told The St Helens Reporter.
“I think our form has been scratchy at best, and we’ve really struggled to string a solid performance together.
“There’s no other side in the competition that challenge you more to put in an 80-minute performance than Leeds do.”
Saints are in danger of slipping out of the top four with Castleford Tigers breathing down their necks in fifth place.
Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott, meanwhile, could name an unchanged 17 from the 50-0 triumph over Hull KR at Wembley last Saturday.
Rob Burrow did pick up a knock in the act of scoring a try, but was withdrawn from the field immediately and is expected to play on Friday.
In the only change to the 19-man squad, forward Josh Walters replaces teenage winger Ash Handley.
The Rhinos have beaten Saints in all three meetings this season, although Saints won 13-12 at Headingley the week after the cup final last year, when centre Joel Moon was sent off for Leeds.
Prediction: Leeds Rhinos by 8. Expect a closer contest than the previous two league matches this season. The Rhinos could be on a comedown from Wembley, while the return of Wilkin is a massive boost for Saints at a time when they need an experienced head. The two sides are closely matched in the forwards, but Leeds’ ruthless backline could decide the result.