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Leeds Rhinos coach throws dig at Hull KR over “swamp” of a pitch

Leeds Rhinos are set to play Catalans Dragons on Saturday and head coach Rohan Smith has confirmed that he is looking forward to “playing on a proper track” at Headingley, suggesting that the Rhinos couldn’t play their rugby on Hull KR’s “swamp”.

The Rhinos fell to a 22-12 defeat last Thursday with sin bins proving crucial in the game as each side scored points when at a man advantage, allowing the Robins twenty minutes of play to expose the Leeds gaps.

They managed to do that with tries through Ryan Hall and Peta Hiku, those second-half scores securing the win and condemning Leeds Rhinos to their first loss of the season.

Leeds didn’t meet the high expectations in Round One either with many believing that they would put Salford to the sword, but they did show some grit as they edged out a 22-16 win.

Rohan Smith has reassured fans that improvement is on the way though, even stating that it will come on Saturday courtesy of the pitch being better and alluding to the fact it may have contributed to the loss to the Robins.

Speaking at the Leeds Rhinos presser, available on YouTube, he said: “We’ve got heaps of improvement in us. We’re a relatively new group with key players, but I think we actually played pretty solid footy last week.

“We got beaten by a couple of deflections. The game could have easily gone the other way on a swamp.

“This week we’ll be playing on a proper track that doesn’t give way, and I think we will be able to express ourselves a bit more and play some upbeat rugby.”

Smith clarifies comments after Leeds Rhinos loss to Hull KR

Leeds Rhinos

As well as bemoaning Hull KR’s “swamp”, Smith also tracked back on his comments about Hull KR captain Elliot Minchella whom he had seemingly suggested milked a penalty.

Minchella was hit high around the head by Sam Lisone when darting for the goalline which saw the prop sent to the sin bin and subsequently banned for three games, something the Rhinos failed to successfully appeal.

At the time Smith commented about players ‘diving’ and the sport becoming ‘like football’, but he’s offered some clarity on his comments.

Smith explained: “Just to be clear, sort of my comments after the game weren’t specific to those two incidents that in our game, I was more referring and reflecting on the games that I’ve seen where players aren’t getting up.

“They’re staying down until the outcome of the tackle is sort of resolved, where I think our game’s always been built on if you can get up, you do get up.”

He then confirmed his intention to take those comments to today’s proposed coaches meeting with the RFL.

“The other aspect of it is that players are all running in towards the contest, appealing for penalties, which is very similar to any football game that you watch. So if asked for my opinion, I’ll certainly pass that on to the coaches, meaning.”

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