Leigh looking for second Super League scalp when they face Leeds

Ryan Bailey
Ryan Bailey

Leigh coach Kieron Purtill is hoping the familiarity of Featherstone will help his Championship side claim a second Super League scalp.

The Centurions' Challenge Cup quarter-final tie against reigning Super League champions Leeds on Friday is being played at Rovers' LD Nutrition Stadium because Headingley is staging England's second Test against Pakistan.

Leigh have lost 11 successive away games against Leeds and have not beaten them since the days of the old Stones Bitter Championship in 1988, but they will relish the prospect of neutral territory, especially having triumphed 40-22 over Featherstone at the LD Nutrition Stadium a fortnight ago.

"The ground probably suits us a little bit more than Leeds," said Purtill. "Headingley is a fantastic stadium or it will be when it's all finished and the home support they get there is brilliant.

"At Featherstone it's a more compact ground, there's a bit of a slope there, the surface isn't as good and we were there a couple of weeks ago and came away with a great win.

"We've got some familiarity with the ground and hopefully that will help us rather than aid Leeds."

Purtill's appointment as head coach was made permanent following his side's impressive 22-10 win over Salford in the last round of the Cup and, with Leeds having lost five of their last six Super League games, are right to fancy their chances of securing a place in Sunday's semi-final draw.

However, Purtill insists the Rhinos remain favourites and is expecting their star men to step up.

"It's an exciting fixture, particularly for the neutrals I think," Purtill said.

"We're going there as underdogs, Leeds are a fantastic team and they've got a lot of history in big games.

"We were very good in the last round but it's a different game. Leeds have been struggling a bit with their league campaign with a number of injuries and they're probably looking at this game to get their season back on track.

"They've got some experienced players within that group and they've been through these tough times before and come out the other side with some trophies.

"They will be relying on their experienced people to get them through it."

Leigh prop Ryan Bailey, who won the Challenge Cup as well as six Grand Finals during his successful time with Leeds, misses out on a reunion after taking a head knock in last Saturday's 28-26 Championship defeat by Toronto but Jordan Baldwinson, on loan from Wakefield, will go up against his old club.

"With the seven-day protocol, Ryan misses out by a day but he's going to come with us on the coach and his experience of big games will be good for our group," Purtill added.

"He'll be around the changing rooms passing on a bit of knowledge.

"I know Jordan is looking forward to it. He's come to us on loan to try and get his career on track.

"He's been good for us the last couple of weeks and he'll be looking forward probably to proving a point to Leeds but more so proving a point to Wakefield to show what he can do against Super League opposition."

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