Rhinos taking extra Covid precautions ahead of Wembley Final

Leeds Rhinos are asking their players to be extra vigilant in the two weeks leading up to the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, in light of several Covid-19 cases and scares throughout Super League.

The Rhinos’ clash with Castleford was postponed after three Tigers players tested positive, leaving them with just 14 available players and meaning Leeds will now face Hull.

Wigan also had three positives this week, while the Rhinos were given a scare after tests returned inconclusive, although those players did eventually come back negative.

The risks of players contracting coronavirus are uncertain and that has brought about questions over what would happen should a member of the Leeds or Salford squads pick it up ahead of Wembley.

It’s a scenario that both clubs are obviously determined to avoid, and Agar says it would be gutting to have to deliver that news to a player should it occur.

“I don’t want to be the bloke to tell them that they have to miss out on a showpiece final,” he said. “Especially if you’re track and traced from an opposition team.

“I think what we’ve found is that the guys who have been stood down from track and trace, none of them have developed Covid symptoms. I might be wrong here, but I know our guys who’ve been stood down on track and trace and as far as I’m aware, people within the game haven’t.

“So it would be an extremely bitter pill to swallow if that was the case.”

In reality, there’s little the club can do to completely guarantee they will be Covid-19 free but Agar insists they are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure everyone will be available for the Final.

He continued: “We’re really confident we’ve got a secure training venue here. We’re very careful in and around the place and we’ve asked the guys that, from hereon in, just to be ultra-careful and cautious, although that in itself is difficult. So just going home, coming here and putting yourself in as much of a bubble as you possibly can.

“We’re very socially distant when we do our team talks at the moment. We’re socially distant in our meeting rooms, everybody wears a mask, there’s hand sanitiser everywhere. So we’re just taking the upmost caution but sometimes, as we’ve found out, it’s actually out of our hands.

“Our next Covid tests will be Sunday. Obviously we’ve got a game to negotiate first so we can’t control what Castleford do either. We talked about putting them all in the hotel at Headingley but Gary (Hetherington) won’t pay the bill for that.

“So it’s about being vigilant. If that means from now until Sunday, they attend the game, we stay at home and come to training on Sunday when we get our tests, that’s not a long period of time. We’re talking four days.

“So I’m sure the need to be eating in cafes and restaurants and all that, I’m sure we can cope for three or four days.

“But kids are going to school, if they live at home with their parents, their parents go to work. We can’t ask their whole families’ world’s and lives to stop either.

“Brad Dwyer had it, he was at home with his mum and dad. He also spent a couple of days in training when he would have been infectious and has infected no one around him.

“It’s just so difficult to pin point. We’re asking them to be as vigilant as they possibly can given the circumstances, but we’re in the lap of the Gods as well at times.”

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