Saints Set For Rhinos

SAINTS return to First Utility Super League action this Friday when they travel to Leeds Rhinos.

It will be the fourth time the two sides have met this season with the Champions yet to record a victory.

But Cunningham’s men have had an extended break and are looking forward to the contest.

“The players have had a short break but we have been working hard in the office,” Keiron said. “They did some tough work at the back end of the week and then had the weekend off. We had them back in Monday and today (Tuesday) and they looked good for the rest.

“The break has probably been good for us. We played in the World Club Challenge and through to the Challenge Cup Semi Final so the only week we have missed this season has been the final. We have had a hangover since the semi-final and haven’t been at the races.

“We haven’t been far off though. If we defend a try against Huddersfield we go on to win the game. Against Hull FC if we score another try in the first half we go on to win that and that was the same situation in Catalan. We are close but we know we have to do better.

“People seem quite dour about the situation we are in, our season is over, derailed etc but we’re happy if people think that. We want to be underdogs and be written off so we can wipe the smirk from a few people’s faces.

“We want to be involved in the big games and finals but as much as you feel you deserve to be involved in them, you have to earn the right to be there. We are coming to terms with that as a club.”

The task that Saints face is a daunting one as they travel to Headingley and to the home of a side that hammered Hull KR to win the Challenge Cup Final for the second year in a row.

They are top of the Super League table too…

“They are certainly the benchmark in the competition,” Keiron continued. “There are a great team and are led by some great leaders. We have been in that situation too and at times you almost feel untouchable; if you have that many leaders you can take it for granted.

“They are in a purple patch, playing good football and as a comp we have to try to catch up Leeds. But there’s always someone to catch!

“Their back five is probably the best back five in the world and they have strike across the board. They play carefree and without structure and that makes them hard to defend against.

“Quite simply you have to be in the game and stay with them to come out with a result.”

Cunningham says Jon Wilkin has a good chance of returning this week providing he passes the relevant tests.

As a “pivotal” player in the club, he will not play if he isn’t ready though according to the head coach.

Tickets for the game – which kicks off at 8pm – are on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.

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