Brian McDermott not scared of losing three straight cup finals


Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott says he is not scared to go down to Wembley and lose despite the club’s recent history in Challenge Cup finals.

Leeds have not won a cup final since 1999, when Leroy Rivett scored four tries in a 52-16 defeat of London Broncos. Since then the Rhinos have been in five Challenge Cup finals and lost every single one, including back-to-back defeats at Wembley in 2010 and 2011. 

But McDemott says his team cannot afford to think about the headlines should they get beat by Warrington in this year’s cup final.

He said: “There is very little motivation based on what the club’s recent history in Challenge Cup finals is. That might sound a bit strange but we can’t go down there scared to lose, we cant be scared about what the headlines might look like and what people’s reaction might be should we lose this game.

“If we got beat by Warrington on game day because they’re the better team and we performed well, but they’re just the better team then fair enough. We will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and carry on.

“But we are going down there to win because we want to win the Challenge Cup final, and because it’s a great feeling. I’m not scared of losing and we’re not going to go down there scared of losing.”

McDermott’s side lost to Catalan last Saturday in their final match before the sport’s showpiece occasion at Wembley Stadium. He is not too concerned about the 38-34 result in which the Rhinos got beat by. 

McDermott says there are positives to be taken from the defeat.

He said: “It in context it was the hottest game I have ever been involved as a player or a coach, and against a very tenacious French team who had gone in on the back of a few losses over there with one or two of our big players out. We found ourselves 30-12 down and playing a Challenge Cup final the week after.

“There are enough reasons there to excuse the players to give the game up, but for some reason they gave it a real go and the reason being is that they are full of steel and resilient.

“We just narrowly missed out and there are a few things we are disappointed with but to put it into context there was a strong second half performance that helped us deal with that loss.”

McDermott is also refusing to give Warrington’s result against London a second thought. The Wolves were heavily beaten by the Broncos 62-18 at the Twickenham Stoop, but the Rhinos themselves know how hard it is to travel to the nation’s capital a week before the Challenge Cup final.

He said: “Warrington will have put that game to bed by now.

“We went to London the week before Wembley last year and lost that game, so we know how hard that fixture that can be.”


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