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Super League: Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers
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- Rhinos back to winning ways
Super League champions Leeds Rhinos will be out to halt a four-game slide when they take on the Castleford Tigers in a West Yorkshire derby at Headingley.
The Rhinos have been beaten by St Helens, Wigan Warriors and Hull FC since their exit at the fifth-round stage of the Challenge Cup to the Huddersfield Giants.
Leeds have already lost once to Castleford this season, although they did exact a measure of revenge by dumping the Tigers out of the cup prior to their loss to the Giants.
Leeds have drafted in young centres Thomas Minns and Jimmy Keinhorst to offset the loss of Kallum Watkins and Danny McGuire, who join Ben Jones-Bishop, Stevie Ward, Jamie Peacock and Carl Ablett on the sidelines.
Rhinos winger Ryan Hall is expecting a tough clash against their neighbours despite Leeds being the favourites to emerge with the Super League points.
"It's a tough one - a bit of a local derby. Castleford like nothing more than to beat us and they'll be wanting to do the league double over us," he told Sky Sports.
Blood in the water
"They beat us at their place earlier this year, but we knocked them out of the Challenge Cup. They can smell a bit of blood in the water over what's been happening to us over the last four weeks and they'll be gunning for it. We'll have to play really well to stop them."
Castleford winger James Clare and utility back Richard Owen are vying to replace suspended leading tryscorer Justin Carney in the only likely change to the Tigers side that drew at London.
Centre/second rower Jordan Thompson sees the short trip to Headingley as a chance to get their season back on track, telling the Yorkshire Evening Post: "It is a big opportunity for us.
"If you look at the Challenge Cup tie when we played them there, we were in that battle up until the 70th minute.
"They have got good players who can switch on whenever they want to and get good results and that's what they did in the last quarter of that game.
"I think it's going to be a real contest because they are the champions and they're really good on their own patch, but I don't see why we can't go there and give them a really good run for their money."
Leeds Rhinos: Hardaker, Moon, Hall, Burrow, Leuluai, McShane, Jones-Buchanan, Sinfield, Delaney, Bailey, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch, Moore, Keinhorst, Singleton, Vickery, Sutcliffe, Minns
Castleford Tigers: Owen, Shenton, Dixon, Chase, Ellis, Walker, Clark, Huby, Hauraki, Millington, Milner, Massey, Holmes, Thompson, Tansey, Fleming, Clare, Martin, Boyle
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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