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Why Junior Sa’u and Salford Red Devils star Elijah Taylor will play for Leeds Rhinos against New Zealand

Historically, we used to see club sides take on touring national teams quite frequently, but nowadays it’s a rarity.

That makes it no less special and the last time we saw it as then Super League Champions Leeds host New Zealand in 2015 ahead of the Kiwis’ series against England it was a special occasion.

It was an emotional night too as Leeds bid farewell to Kevin Sinfield and Jamie Peacock after the treble whilst Kylie Leuluai, Adrian Morley and Ail Lauitiiti all made their final appearances for the club. It was a night all about farewells to club servants.

Tonight, Leeds will again host the Kiwis as New Zealand warm up for the World Cup. The fixture from a Rhinos perspective is again all about farewells.

Tom Briscoe, after nine seasons at Headingley winning five major finals scoring nine major final tries, will captain the side on his farewell which comes alongside Brad Dwyer and Muizz Mustapha who also say goodbye to the club.

Hometown hero and Hull bound centre Liam Sutcliffe will miss out on his farewell through injury sadly whilst Adam Cuthbertson, a treble winner in 2015 and a winner of four major honours with the club, returns to make the final appearance of his playing career.

On the New Zealand side of things Thomas Leuluai will make the final appearance of his career as well.

An emotional night that will exceed the boundaries of Leeds and New Zealand to other Super League clubs. Another treble winner with the Rhinos will make a return to the side in the shape of Jimmy Keinhorst but somewhat surprisingly too players with no connection to Leeds will also guest star for the Rhinos.

That’s Salford star Elijah Taylor and Keighley Cougars centre Junior Sa’u. So, why are these two set to play for Leeds tonight?

Well for one they’re former Kiwis, but the reason for their appearance is down to the fact it is their last chance to play with good friend Bodene Thompson who is also set to make his last Leeds appearance tonight.

From a player making his last appearance to one making his first, new signing from Batley Luke Hooley will get a first taste of being a Rhino having also been named in the side.

The team in full is:
1. Zak Hardaker
2. Tom Briscoe (c)
3. Rhyse Martin
4. Junior Sa’u *
5. Liam Tindall
6. Blake Austin
7. Aidan Sezer
8. Sam Walters
9. Kruise Leeming
10. Matt Prior
11. Zane Tetevano
12. Bodene Thompson
17. Adam Cuthbertson *
14. Brad Dwyer
15. Elijah Taylor *
16. James Donaldson
13. Jarrod O’Connor
18. Muizz Mustapha
19. Jimmy Keinhorst *
20. Luke Hooley
21. Jack Sinfield
* Guest players

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