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Leeds Rhinos suffer huge double blow ahead of Wigan Warriors clash

Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith

These two teams have defined rugby league history in this country especially in the Challenge Cup.

For a long time, Leeds RL were the most successful club in the Challenge Cup and in 1978 became the first club to win 10 Challenge Cups.

However, in the next 21 years they wouldn’t add to their tally and Wigan’s eight in a row – two against Leeds – and run of nine wins in 11 seasons saw them cement themselves as the sport’s most successful club.

Wigan Warriors claimed their 20th Challenge Cup last year so between the two they have won 34 Challenge Cups with Leeds Rhinos last lifting the trophy in 2020.

So what better way for the Challenge Cup to really kick into gear than a meeting between the two at Headingley just over a week after Leeds stunned Wigan with 12 men coming back from 14-0 down to win 40-18.

The team news is now in.

Leeds Rhinos have suffered a massive blow with stand-off and key man against Wigan Warriors last week Blake Austin absent.

Making matters worse, Ash Handley is also absent for the Rhinos.

This sees Richie Myler return to fullback with Morgan Gannon moving into the halves, where he played a lot in pre-season.

With James Bentley and Zane Tetevano out, Rhyse Martin has been called upon to start in the backrow with James McDonnell as Derrell Olpherts returns to start on the wing allowing Nene MacDonald to start at centre.

Expected Wigan signing Sam Walters is 18th man.

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