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Leeds unveil new shirt as they announce Boxing Day friendly with Wakefield

Since the days before Super League, Boxing Day has always played a big role in the rugby league calendar. Back in the day, vital league games took place in the snow and cold as teams battled it out for the old league title.

Granted, because of Super League and the summer shift, these games are no more than friendlies nowadays but they still mean an awful lot. They’re the first stage in preparations for the new season. It’s an opportunity for new signings to introduce themselves, youngsters to shine and stake a claim for a starting jersey, whilst coaches test out new combinations and tactics. For the sides preparing for a title shot, it’s the very first step towards Old Trafford. So, these festive friendlies should not be scoffed at. Thus, it should come as no surprise to see them make their return this year after the pandemic stood in their way in 2020.

Leeds and Wakefield today confirmed that they’ll be meeting at Emerald Headingley Stadium on Boxing Day in the Wetherby Whaler Festive Challenge. The game will kick-off at 11:30 and will see the two West Yorkshire rivals begin their preparations for the 2022 season.

Both sides are expecting a fair amount of change over the winter. Leeds could use the contest to hand debuts to exciting signings Aidan Sezer, James Bentley and Blake Austin whilst Jack Walker could make his first appearance for over a year as he makes his return from injury.

As for Trinity, they could have a new coach in charge and could introduce new stars like Lee Gaskell and Tom Lineham to their travelling fans.

So fans should be excited, Leeds star Ash Handley certainly is. He spoke about the game on the club website today: ““It will be great to see the Boxing Day game return. As a kid, I loved coming down to watch with my family with all our new Christmas gear on and then I had the honour of making my first appearance in the first team on Boxing Day too. It will be great to see fans young and old back together again enjoying their rugby. It will be a nice way to end 2021 and look ahead to an exciting season in 2022.”

Moreover, to celebrate the return of the traditional clash, Leeds have even released a new festive-themed shirt to celebrate the occasion. It’s now available from their online store.

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