Leeds focus on themselves as rivals clash

Ben Olawumi
Jamie Jones-Buchanan of Leeds

Interim Leeds head coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan says that all of his focus is on matters at Headingley rather than those elsewhere despite their poor start to the season.

Jones-Buchanan took temporary charge of the Rhinos following the departure of Richard Agar earlier this month and oversaw their Challenge Cup exit at home to Castleford Tigers.

As they take on St Helens at Headingley on Friday, closest rivals Castleford and Toulouse will meet at The Jungle.

Only the unlikely result of a draw or a drastic points difference swing would send the Rhinos bottom of the table.

Jones-Buchanan told Love Rugby League: “For other reasons, I’m really aware of what’s going on with the rest of Super League, but with my Leeds Rhinos hat on, all that I’m interested in is our boys.

“Anything outside that bubble is irrelevant when I’ve got the Leeds badge on.”

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Getting Leeds back on track

Part of Leeds’ ‘golden’ generation in the early noughties alongside the likes of Sir Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow MBE, Jones-Buchanan knows what it takes to be successful having been a serial silverware winner.

And now with the Rhinos having won only one game from seven so far in the 2022 campaign.

Jones-Buchanan added: “Our coaching staff have been outstanding in this last week. They’ve been phenomenal.

“My job right now is to make sure that all of the staff here are on the same wavelength delivering clear and consistent messages.

“We’re all together feeding information into Leeds Rhinos’ players that’s conducive to them, improving their performance and improving their confidence so that we can start delivering again on the pitch.”

Despite their successes in the past two decades, it is not the first time Leeds have been in trouble at the wrong end of the table.

In 2016, they were bottom of the table at the end of 10 separate rounds in the season.

Ultimately, they easily avoided relegation via The Qualifiers.

In 2019, they won just one of their first eight games under David Furner and were sat at the bottom.

The relegation battle went to the final day of the season, and London Broncos went down.