AUSTRALIAN FORWARD Mitch Achurch will make his Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final debut tomorrow, with Jimmy Keinhorst missing out.
Speaking at the traditional eve of final walkabout, Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott today confirmed his side for the Wembley clash with Hull KR.
Most of the side is as expected, with Adam Cuthbertson named at hooker, though likely to play as an additional prop.
McDermott confirmed Kevin Sinfield will slot in at hooker and Rob Burrow will also operate there when he comes off the bench.
Achurch underwent surgery on a wrist injury after Rhinos’ Magic Weekend loss to Wigan Warriors at the end of May.
He returned in the Super-8s clash with Wigan two weeks ago, but was knocked out seconds after entering the action, though he did turn in a strong display at Hull last Friday.
Keinhorst, who played in the 2012 Cup final, has featured in Rhinos’ last dozen games and McDermott admitted it was a hard call to leave him out.
“Very much so,” said the coach. “He has been a good player for us over a number of weeks now.”
Achurch was 18th man last year, when Rhinos beat Castleford Tigers. Other players set for their first Cup final appearance are Cuthbertson, Mitch Garbutt and Brad Singleton.
McDermott said the final place on the bench was his main dilemma.
“There was one there and then some niggles we just had to check on,” he said. “It wasn’t so much that they were not going to play, but where we played them - whether it was off the bench or not.”
Of the hooker role, McDermott said: “Kev will go in there at times. Rob will feature both and nine and in the halves during the game.”
Leeds Rhinos’ Wembley side is: Hardaker, Briscoe, Watkins, Moon, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Garbutt, Cuthbertson, Peacock, S Ward, Ablett, Delaney. Subs Burrow, Leuluai, Achurch, Singleton.