Opposition Profile – Castleford Tigers
After comprehensively beating Catalans Dragons on home turf last week, the Rhinos will travel to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Friday night to face a Castleford side that also got a big win last Sunday to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive.
The match will mark the deciding game in this year’s ‘The Clash’ series, with both sides claiming a win at Emerald Headingley earlier in the season. With a crucial two league points on the line, find out more about the local Tigers.
This year Castleford Tigers have struggled to keep a consistent form. With three teams tied on 20 points (Castleford, Wigan and Catalans), only their superior points difference and home form has given Daryl Powell’s side the edge, with the Tigers winning eight out of ten home matches this season.
Four of Castleford’s ten wins came in the opening rounds of 2019 but since then, they have lost to Hull FC and Warrington twice. Their 8-30 win over the Rhinos at Emerald Headingley in May was the Tigers’ first win in four matches and they come into this game with only one win in their last three fixtures.
With Leeds defeating Catalans last weekend, Castleford’s heavy win against London Broncos at the Jungle boosted them into fourth place in the Super League table, four points behind Hull FC. Two tries from former Bronco Tuoyo Egodo and Mike McMeeken were highlights of the game, with Jordan Rankin, Jake Trueman, James Clare and Chris Clarkson also getting on the scoreboard.
At the Mend-A-Hose Jungle, both sides have had dominant periods over the 21 years they have both been in Super League (Castleford were relegated for the 2005 and 2007 seasons). It took until 2000 for the Rhinos to get their first win, with Paul Sterling, Keith Senior, Graham Mackay and Ryan Sheridan crossing for Leeds in a 20-18 win.
The Rhinos’ biggest win came in 2011 as they continued a three year winning streak at Wheldon Road with a 48-6 win. Seven different Leeds players scored that day, with Ryan Hall, who finished top try scorer for Leeds that season, crossing twice. It would be the second consecutive season that Castleford were kept to only one try, after a 38-6 defeat in to the Rhinos in 2010, and continued a winless run at home against there Rhinos that ended in 2013.
Last Ten Matches at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle
Record Against the Rhinos
The Tigers will be confident coming into this fixture having beaten the Rhinos both home and away in twelve of the last fourteen encounters. Their only losses came this season, thanks to a Brad Dwyer drop goal, and the 2017 Grand Final, when Leeds claimed an eighth Super League title.
Overall Castleford have 23 wins over Leeds, including the 1999 Play Off win and two Dacia Magic Weekend victories. The Rhinos on the other hand have 31 wins, thanks to healthy home record (17 wins) and that Grand Final victory. There have also been three draws, two of which have come at Castleford (1997 and 1999).
Recent form at the Jungle also favours Powell’s side, who are unbeaten against Richard Agar’s side in the last four seasons. The Tigers have only conceded 58 points in that period of time against Leeds and have scored over twice as many (164), thanks to the 66-10 beating in 2017.
In the News
The Tigers have been looking towards next season, recruiting three new players this week. Cronulla Sharks and 2016 NRL Grand Final winner Sosaia Feki is a major import for the Tigers, having scored 61 tries in 139 games in the NRL.
Salford players George Griffin and Derrell Olpherts were also announced for the 2020 season. Griffin will replace Wigan bound Mitch Clark whilst Olpherts will provide competition on the wing.
Half back Jordan Rankin is in line to make his 100th Super League appearance against the Rhinos. Before joining Castleford this season, Rankin has also played for Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants.
Marker Tackles: 146
Coach Daryl Powell has made two changes to last weeks team that beat London Broncos. Young half back Jake Trueman and winger Tuoyo Egodo are both ruled out with concussion, allowing Greg Eden and Mitch Clark to return to the side.
Four players named in the squad have also played in blue and amber. Chris Clarkson, Paul McShane, Daniel Smith and Cory Aston have all featured for the Rhinos over the last ten years and will be available to face them on Friday night.
Last Time Out
Following the dismissal of coach Brian McDermott, Leeds faced the Tigers under new management with director of rugby Kevin Sinfield and coach James Lowes taking charge. Two tries from Tom Briscoe would be the only points for Leeds, as Castleford closed in on a top four finish with a 42-10 win.
Tickets and travel for our away game against Castleford Tigers this Friday are available now, kick off 7.45pm. Tickets can be purchased either by coming down to the Leeds Rugby Ticket Office at the Emerald Headingley Stadium, over the phone on 0371 423 1315 or online at tickets.therhinos.co.uk.