Rhinos and Hawks partnership continues to flourish
Ahead of this Sunday’s Leeds Brewery Lazenby Cup between Hunslet Hawks and Leeds Rhinos the two sides took the unusual step of staging a joint training session involving both first team squads this week.
The once bitter rivals face off this Sunday at South Leeds Stadium in the traditional pre-season clash. However, the two clubs have enjoyed a working partnership for the last year aimed at developing and nurturing Rugby League at all levels across the city. That partnership is set to develop even further this year with both clubs sponsored by local company PIMS Ltd, a heating, rewiring and full house refurbishment specialist company, whose logo appears on the back of the new look Leeds Rhinos 2014 home and away shirts and on the front of the Hunslet shirt.
Hunslet Player of the Year Andy Yates has joined the Rhinos from this season whilst Hawks Head Coach Barry Eaton is now part of Brian McDermott's Super League coaching staff working with Kevin Sinfield, Rob Burrow, Danny McGuire and others on their kicking skills.
Commenting on the partnership McDermott said, "We were pleased with how the partnership developed last season and I think it will be even better this year. Hunslet were desperately unlucky to be relegated last season but, having spoken to Barry and seen the squad they have assembled, they are in confident mood to bounce back up at the first opportunity. The dual registration scheme worked well for us last season in particular for Jimmy Keinhorst, Mitch Achurch and Brad Singleton and we will continue to use it in 2014."
Achurch, who will play in his second Lazenby Cup on Sunday added, "I really enjoyed my spell at Hunslet. They are a great set of lads and they and the supporters really made me feel welcome. They are always the first result I look for at the weekend and I'm sure they can get promotion this year. It's great that there are sponsors who want to work with both clubs as that makes the partnership stronger and about more than just players."
PIMS are already partners of the club’s charitable organisation, the Leeds Rugby Foundation, and the Foundation’s logo appears on the side of the entire fleet of PIMS vehicles. Colin Smith from PIMS was on hand at the joint training session to wish Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield and Hunslet star James Houston the best of luck for the new season. He commented, "We are proud to be associated with Rugby League at all levels in the City of Leeds. The ideal result for us this Sunday would be a draw but I am looking forward to an exciting game."