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Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!


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By Haxbytyke
March 15 2012

Thanks to the decision makers at Sky Television, this weeks Championship Pool B local derby between Leeds and Rotherham will kick off at 12.15. Many fans of both clubs will not be able to get to Headingley at this time, commitments to junior clubs meaning some will miss the game, plus the fact it is Mothering Sunday, also being a contributing factor. Consequently, the Sky cameras will see a fairly deserted Headingley, and that in itself is not good for promoting the game at this level.

Still that minor (?) issue aside, the match gives Leeds the perfect opportunity to build on last week’s encouraging draw down inCornwall. On the basis that the clubs who make it to the next phase will almost certainly have to win their home games,Leedshave to win this game against the lowest placed qualifiers from the regular season.

 

The omens are good. While Leeds were scrapping down at Pirates, the Titans threw away a chance to take the scalp of the top seeded club, when they conceded 3 tries in the last 10 minutes or so of their game against Bedford, having held the lead for much of the game. Prolific points scorer Garry Law left his kicking boots at home, otherwise, the hosts would have been home and hosed long before the Blues late rally, andLeedsmust beware of conceding penalties within range of the posts. This in itself could be the biggest threat to a home victory. Rotherham have a big pack of forwards who will put the hosts’ set piece under strong pressure, and Leeds must make sure they do not get on the  wrong side of the officials when they are defending their own territory.

The visitors have also announced this week, that four of their players will be moving to Premiership clubs next season, and they will also want to make their mark in their last few appearances for the club.

Despite last week’s excellent result,Leedsstill occupy third place in the pool table, and cannot afford to slip up this week. Tommy Bell is available after his international duties, and it is hard to believe the ‘points machine’ will not be in the starting line-up on Sunday, but with Stevie McColl returning successfully to the side in the number 15 jersey, I can’t see Diccon  bringing Tommy back as the last line of defence.

With Michael Stephenson already declared an absentee, I hope DE resists the urge to put McColl on the wing to accommodate Bell, because for me Lee Blackett is the like for like replacement, and should take the wing spot. Joe Ford was also instrumental inLeedsperformance at The Mennaye, so maybe Tommy will have to settle for a place on the bench.

The big concern though, is the forwards. Everybody knows Rotherham will keep the game tight, andLeedshave struggled to combat this style of play throughout the season. The front row will have an enormous task as the two sets of forwards battle for early ascendancy, and maybe starting with Gareth Denman, and dropping Lockwood to the bench will help stabilise the scrum. There are endless choices in the back 5, and whoever is selected should be good enough to at least maintain parity with our neighbours. Maybe this week, experience over youth will be key in what will be a hostile confrontation, and unless injuries dictate otherwise, I expect to see a very similar line up to last weekend.

I hope the television viewers will be treated to a good game of rugby, and I think ifLeedscan hold their discipline and concentration they will gain a comfortable victory. A try scoring bonus point would certainly be welcome, and I’ll predict a 12 point winning margin, although whether that will be enough to claim maximum points I’m not sure.

 

In the other game in Pool B, Bedford play hosts to the Pirates, with the home side certainly buoyed by their result last week, while the Pirates will be disappointed with their effort against Leeds. A close game in prospect though, and I’ll go for a narrow home victory to put the Blues in the driving seat for a semi final spot.

 

Hopefully a few Titans fans will make the trip to Headingley, and they will receive a warm welcome. Whichever side you support, enjoy the game.

 

COME ONLEEDS

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15 Mar, 2012 20:35 Report
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Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2012:03:25:19:53:24 by WildWillie .

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15 Mar, 2012 20:46 Report
almostatyke (IP Logged)
Allez les Tykes!
Date Joined: Oct, 2011
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Nice post Hax, it would be nice to see more than a "few" Titan fans at HC given the fact that this is a Yorkshire Derby.

I wasn't born in Yorkshire, but I got here as soon as I could

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15 Mar, 2012 21:00 Report
SoopaLeeds (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Great preview Hax.

Close Leeds win on Sunday.

(Sm134)

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15 Mar, 2012 22:13 Report
merry (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
nice one, hax.

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15 Mar, 2012 22:35 Report
Selby Kev (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Good review Hax. My main concern as you rightly say is the set piece and we need to see an awesome delivery from the scrum that spells out real guts and Premiership aspiration.Although an incredible improvement and a brilliant defence we struggled a wee bit at times against Pirates .If we find ourselves going backwards there is the danger of leaking points...and if promotion is to be a credible option it simply cant happen.This team has improved so much since kick off in Sept...just need to see some masssive 'resolution' come Sunday.
Come on ye Tykes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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16 Mar, 2012 05:17 Report
Wildwillie (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Quote:
SoopaLeeds
Great preview Hax.
Close Leeds win on Sunday.

(Sm134)

Ditto

[www.northernpubs.co.uk]
[www.embsaywitheastbyallotments.org.uk]

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16 Mar, 2012 06:27 Report
williamwebbellis (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Good preview Haxby, it will be a tough game but we can do it. Whether it will be comfortably...I doubt it

(Sm23) Leeds don't do comfortable (Sm23)

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16 Mar, 2012 06:58 Report
Gelbel (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Nice one Haxby. You're right about McColl - he should not be 'sacrificed' to make room for Bell. He's been back 2 games and has made a real difference.

I'm having me hair done for the telly.(Sm81)

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16 Mar, 2012 07:57 Report
Rocky's Dad (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Thanks Hexby Great Preview

I agree re Bell and Ford the last thing we want to do is dent Joe's confidence after he has done so well in Bell's absence

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16 Mar, 2012 08:06 Report
Mark_C (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Good preview!

When was the last time we were in the great position of not having a side that picked itself? I think the key to the play-offs now is getting consistency in the front five, and improving upon last week's performance against the Pirates.

COME ON YEW NEGIE-TYKES!!

(Sm128)

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16 Mar, 2012 08:17 Report
Rocky The Tyke (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Thanks Haxby

__________________________________

The time for reminiscing is after rugby. Then you can sit down and get fat.

Quote from Josh Lewsey

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16 Mar, 2012 08:23 Report
farmertyke (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
Thank you Haxby, incisive as ever.

As you say the real battle will be in the forwards, win that and I think you win the game. The only problem being that we do not often win the battle up front and last week the Pirates pack ruffed ours up.

And yes Blackett must start on the wing. If we need Bell in the team put Lucock on the bench.....

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18 Mar, 2012 15:52 Report
Timofe (IP Logged)
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Re: Leeds fans reach for the Sky..........button!
I think "the delete button" would be more appropriate.

Riding the Leeds roller-coaster since 2001

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