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Rohan Smith makes big call on returning stars

Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith

Rivals Round concludes today with a battle in West Yorkshire.

Two of last year’s top six collide at Headingley after both sides lost in the major finals in 2022.

The Huddersfield Giants finished third in 2022 and lost the Challenge Cup Final to Wigan Warriors.

They arrive in Leeds with huge expectations on their shoulders after some major signings but in the knowledge that they haven’t won here since 2018.

They take on last year’s beaten Grand Finalists Leeds Rhinos who are the Jekyll and Hyde of Super League backing up sensational showings with lukewarm displays and they thus need a win today after defeat last week against Hull KR.

In recent times this has been a guaranteed classic with seven of the last 11 meetings between the two decided by a converted try or less.

That was the case at Headingley last season with the Giants staging a remarkable comeback against Leeds over Easter to salvage a 20-all draw before Leeds produced their own late drama at Headingley late in the season to defeat Huddersfield 18-14 in their hunt for the play-offs.

Similar drama is expected today but as both teams look to edge this battle how will they line up?

Well the team news is now in, and Rohan Smith has made a big call on the wing with both returning stars Nene MacDonald and Ash Handley on the wings.

Richie Myler is back from paternity leave to play at fullback giving the Rhinos a totally different back three to last week.

Mikolaj Oledzki starts for the first time this season as Zane Tetevano drops to the bench.

Corey Johnson is back in the side.

Meanwhile for Huddersfield, Will Pryce has surprised everyone by being fit to play despite an awful looking ankle injury against Salford Red Devils.

Tui Lolohea and Jake Connor start on the halves whilst Harvey Livett returns to play in the backrow.

Arguably both Connor’s and Lolohea’s best roles are at the back so the Giants are effectively playing with three fullbacks.

Jermaine McGillvary is back from injury on the wing and Sam Halsall keeps Leroy Cudjoe and Jake Bibby out of the 17.

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