They may be known as the Rhinos, but Leeds players have faced up to much smaller creatures ahead of their Easter Monday match with Salford.
Leeds Rhinos players Brett Ferres, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Jimmy Keinhorst took a break from training during their hectic Easter period to handle a tarantula, bearded dragon and python.
Normally creeping through opposition lines of defence themselves, the rugby league stars were eager to show how brave they really are during this altogether different form of encounter. The animals were brought in by Yorkshire company, Meet a Creature.
Based near Doncaster, the company will be bringing snakes, guinea pigs, rabbits, geckos, frogs, tarantulas and giant millipedes to the Family Fun matchday, in which Leeds take on the Salford Red Devils at 3pm on Monday at Emerald Headingley.
“The creatures are great fun and really interesting. I am sure the children coming along to Monday’s game will be fascinated to see them and get to learn more about each one,” said Jones-Buchanan, who was quick to check the bearded dragon on his shoulder did not crawl any higher.
Ferres and Keinhorst certainly looked more relaxed than Jones-Buchanan, whose bearded dragon friend seemed to take a liking to the Leeds second row/loose forward’s facial hair after which the creature is named.
Dean Roots, head ranger and company owner at Meet a Creature, said: “As a father of three and an animal lover, I realised how important it is to help children discover the wonders of the natural world, and also learn about why we need to look after animals and their habitats.”
Meet a Creature has built up a strong following among Yorkshire’s primary schools where its rangers have helped teachers bring the science curriculum to life through workshops on ‘Rainforest’ and ‘Nocturnal Animals’ among other topics.
Tickets are still available for Monday’s game starting from just £20 for adults and £10 for juniors if booked before midnight on Easter Sunday at tickets.therhinos.co.uk.
Fans will also be able to pay on the day at the turnstiles.
To find out more about Meet-a-Creature go to www.meetacreature.co.uk or call 07432 560371.