McDermott awaits tough Super League test

Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Brian McDermott says he is pleased to be back at Headingley Carnegie for the Fifth Round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup after once again being pitted against rival Super League opposition.

Leeds will face McDermott’s old Harlequins club at Headingley Carnegie having overcome Crusaders in the Fourth Round.

He commented, “We know that Quins are a tough team. They did a job on us earlier this season here at Headingley Carnegie, and although they have had a bit of a dip in form since then in the league, you know that the team that performs best on the day will be going through to the next round.

“I said before Saturday’s game that I would rather be facing Super League opposition in the Cup at this stage of the season. It allows you to continue what you are doing on a week to week basis and helps make you battle hardened. If you are playing teams from the lower divisions is tough mentally to get up for those games and then get back up the following week to play in Super League. In the Cup you will come up against a tough team at some point if you are going to go all the way and we are happy to be facing tough opponents in both the opening two rounds,” added McDermott. 

The win over Crusaders was tarnished following injuries to Brent Webb, Danny McGuire and Chris Clarkson however McDermott hopes that the news will be better than first feared for all three. He added, “Brent Webb has a dead leg and we hope the injury hasn’t caused too much damage. Ryan Hall had a similar injury against Featherstone in pre-season and we feared he would be out for weeks but was back the next week to play Crusaders. With Danny McGuire we are hoping it is a quad strain which could mean one to two weeks on the sideline however if it is a tear it could be five or six weeks. The good news on Chris Clarkson is that he has a badly bruised bone on his ankle and it is not a fracture. I think his pride is the deepest injury he has suffered as the boys were giving him some stick because he came off on a stretcher and there wasn’t even a break!”