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Premiership Rugby

Leeds Tykes’ preview and team

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Phil Davies looks ahead to the Tykes game against Rotherham Titans at Headingley this Friday, kick off 8pm.

"Friday night is going to be an extremely special occasion for Yorkshire rugby and hopefully a chance for the Yorkshire public to turn out in force to watch their two teams.

I have the utmost respect for what Rotherham have achieved over the past ten years and it is great to have two sides from Yorkshire in the top flight now.  Hopefully, we can both put our disappointing starts to the season behind us and progress this season, it would be fantastic for the game in the county if this fixture could become a regular highlight in the season. When you look at the rivalry and intensity that is created when the Rhinos take on Bradford in Rugby League and the massive crowds those games attract, it shows the potential that is there.

Friday night rugby at Headingley gives the game a special atmosphere and I'm sure that both sets of players will respond to that.

It was bitterly disappointing to lose another player to injury last week with Alan Dickens joining the other five players on the injury list.  Fortunately, we have been able to bring in Steve Millard and Ryan Walker in on loan to cover for the injuries.  Ryan will come straight into the starting line up and I am looking forward to seeing him play.  I have had some good reports from South Africa on him and hopefully he will be able to make the most of his opportunity here at Leeds.

I was pleased with the response from the players last week.  Given all of the circumstances leading up to the game, it was a much improved performance and they began to show their potential.  Our defence was strong again apart from a couple of soft tries and our set plays were much improved, we will need to continue that progression if we are to get the right performance against Rotherham.

The squad have trained well all this week.  Despite the injuries, we have to get on with the job now and hopefully once we can get some of the injured players back we will be in a stronger position."

TEAM NEWS: WALKER COMES IN FOR DEBUT

New loan signing Ryan Walker will come in for his debut this Friday after arriving from South Africa on Monday.  Walker is on loan from Natal Sharks and comes in for the injured Alan Dickens, who suffered a quad strain in last weekends defeat at Wasps.  The other change sees James Ponton start his first game of the season at flanker. Ponton, who is the only surviving player in the Leeds team for the last game between the two sides four seasons ago, replaces Matt Salter who suffered a leg injury this week in training and will only appear as a replacement.

The other loan signing for the Tykes, prop Steve Millard from London Welsh comes in for youngster Jimmy Brown on the bench.

The team in full is:

BACKS

15. Matt Cardey14. Phil Christophers13. Dan Scarbrough12. Liam Botham 11. David Rees10. Duncan Hodge9. Ryan Walker

FORWARDS

1. Gary Powell2. Rob Rawlinson 3. Matt Holt4. Scott Morgan 5. Stuart Hooper6. James Ponton7. Dan Hyde (c)8. Colm Rigney

REPLACEMENTS

16. Steve Millard17. Michael Cusack18. Carl Hogg19. Matt Salter20. Mark Chester21. Tristan Davies22. Tim Walsh

TYKES HOPING TO BREAK ATTENDANCE RECORD

Leeds Tykes are hoping for a new record attendance for the first ever Yorkshire derby in the Zurich Premiership when Rotherham Titans visit Headingley this Friday, 26th September, kick off 8pm.

The game is the first meeting between the two clubs for nearly four years when Rotherham won by a single point in February 2000 to gain promotion into the Zurich Premiership at the expense of the Tykes.

That game saw a then record crowd of 5,019 attend the game, a record which has twice been broken since.  In the 2001-2002 season 7,162 attended the game against Champions Leicester Tigers and then 7,207 were present for the game against Newcastle Falcons at Headingley.

Commenting on the game Marketing Executive Nick Fletcher said, "There has been a great deal of interest in the game and we are hoping to break last years figure.  That would be a fantastic achievement for Yorkshire rugby.  We have been continuing our extensive community programme with 5,000 special family tickets distributed, which allow an adult and upto two children in for £10 plus we have done a special promotion with Leeds Rhinos season ticket holders.  The Rhinos are not in action this weekend so we have offered all season ticket holders the family offer upon production of voucher 18.  Both offers are available only at the turnstiles on Kirkstall Lane.

"We have also had a comprehensive poster, A board and radio advertising campaign, which will hopefully encourage people to come down and enjoy Friday night rugby at Headingley," added Fletcher.

ENDS

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