Preview: Leeds v Wigan (Fri)

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Leeds and Wigan meet on Friday night at Headingley in what is one of the biggest matches in every Super League season between two of the game’s best known and most successful clubs.

For the clash the Rhinos will welcome back Adam Cuthbertson following two months out with a hand injury as well as Joel Moon and Brett Delaney, both of whom missed last weekend’s victory over Wakefield. Liam Sutcliffe, who filled in for Moon in the halves on his own return from injury, is left out of the nineteen man squad as Ash Handley looks to continue his sensational form inside Ryan Hall. Indeed, eight tries in his last five appearances is quite some record and he will be hoping to cross tonight against the Warriors.

While Leeds had an unbeaten Easter period with two wins and a draw, Wigan lost the Good Friday derby at St Helens though they did bounce back with a big win over Hull KR and a superb comeback from 21-0 down at Catalans last weekend to win 32-23. Having played the same number of games as each other, tonight’s visitors are one point ahead of the Rhinos, suggesting that this may well be a close match. Leeds have won three of their four ‘home’ matches so far this season – two of which being at Elland Road – and have lost one, the 25-24 loss to local rivals Castleford where they nilled the Tigers in the second half and won the last 56 minutes 24-1.

As Leeds welcome back three players to the fold for tonight’s match, Wigan coach Shaun Wane has made only one alteration to his squad as Ben Flower misses out due to concussion, Morgan Escare his replacement. Wigan’s mercurial Sean O’Loughlin put in a sensational Man of the Match performance last weekend in Perpignan and, speaking of this evening’s match, he said “they’re enjoyable games to play in. Headingley is a tough place to go. We’ve not picked up many results now for a couple of years but the boys relish the rivalry that we’ve created over the past 10 or 15 years.” Indeed, Leeds have won the last seven matches at Headingley between the two and, despite the fact they are up against Super League’s second best attack and defence, will be hoping to continue that run.

Leeds Rhinos squad: Ablett, Briscoe, Cuthberton, Delaney, Dwyer, Golding, Hall, Handley, Jones-Buchanan, Moon, Mullally, Myler, Oledzki, Parcell, Singleton, Smith, Walters, Ward, Watkins

Wigan Warriors squad: Bateman, Burgess, Clubb, Escaré, Farrell, Gildart, Hamlin, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Navarrete, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sarginson, Sutton, Tautai, J. Tomkins, S. Tomkins, Williams

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