McGuire up for Wigan challenge
Leeds Rhinos stand-off Danny McGuire insists the champions are up for the challenge of upsetting the Wigan Warriors on Saturday.
By James Pearson - follow on Twitter @SkySportsPeo
Last Updated: 12/07/12 12:31pm
Leeds Rhinos stand-off Danny McGuire insists the Super League champions are up for the challenge of upsetting the Wigan Warriors at Huddersfield on Saturday.
The pair meet in the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final at the Galpharm Stadium with Shaun Wane's holders the favourites to book their place in the final.
Wigan beat Leeds in last year's final and have already claimed two victories over their rivals from Yorkshire in this season's Stobart Super League meetings.
Leeds are in decent form following four successive league wins and McGuire knows there is no bigger incentive for players with the prospect of a trip to Wembley in the offing.
"It's a good game for us I think. It's something we need. It's a big challenge for us," he told Sky Sports.
"They are playing really well. They are the form team in the competition at the minute. They have got some great players.
"Everyone knows it's going to be a big task for us. Not many people are going to fancy our chances, but within the camp we're confident.
"These are the games you want to be involved with as a player. The big games, it matters, it's knockout football. The winner goes to Wembley and there's no bigger incentive then that."
Leeds have been superb in Grand Finals in recent years, but their record against Wigan does not make good reading and McGuire believes their defence could be the key to setting up a final against Warrington or Huddersfield.
The Rhinos slumped to a 50-8 home defeat to the Warriors in June and the 29-year-old is calling for a big performance in defence.
"I don't think we've beaten them for a few years now," he continued. "They are a good team, take nothing away from them.
"Semi-finals are semi-finals. It's about the team that turns up on the day and puts the game-plan into action. We need to make sure we do that. We need to make sure we don't miss tackles.
"We gave them a bit of an easy game at Headingley last time. For 20 to 25 minutes it was a really intense encounter, but obviously they ran away with it at the back end. We can't afford to miss tackle on key players. Our defence is going to be a big thing at the weekend."
Wigan will be without the injured Thomas Leuluai, however, McGuire acknowledges Wane will have cover for the New Zealand international.
"Tommy is a great player," he said. Any team would miss a player like that. They will miss his direction, but they've got a good squad.
"They've got players they can bring in and I'm sure it will not affect them too much. Anything we can use to our advantage we will do.
"At the end of the day it's 17 against 17 and it's about the team that turns up on the day and puts the plan into action."
Sam Tomkins is regarded as Super League's brightest talent and McGuire thinks keeping Wigan's pack quiet could be the key to shutting down their playmaker.
"He's done some special things this season. He gets better every time I see him play. He's so elusive, strong and fast," he added.
"He's definitely a player we're going to have to keep an eye on, but I think if you ask Sam he'll say the forwards have laid the platform for him to be able to produce this magic.
"Without the big guys it's a lot harder. What we'll have to do at the weekend is dominate in the forwards to give ourselves a chance."