Leeds Rhinos: Lauitiiti back for Headingley farewell against New Zealand

Four-time Grand Final winner Ali Lauitiiti will make a guest appearance for Leeds Rhinos when they take on New Zealand at Headingley on Friday, October 23.

24th June 2005. Leeds Rhinos Ali Lauitiiti is held by Danny Williams and Tyrone Smith in the Powergen Challenge Cup Quarter Final against the London Broncos at Headingley.

Lauitiiti, 36, played the last of his 200 games for Rhinos in the 2011 Old Trafford win over St Helens and has spent the past four seasons at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

Following Salford Red Devils’ final game of the season - would be featuring for the club where he began his career 21 years ago.

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The fixture is New Zealand’s only warm-up ahead of their three Test series against England, which begins in Hull the following weekend.

Rhinos will be without their England trio Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall, plus several injured players including Liam Sutcliffe, Stevie Ward, Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Paul Aiton.

Jamie Peacock played his last match in the Grand Final win over Wigan Warriors last weekend, but Kevin Sinfield - if he recovers from a hand injury - and Kylie Leuluai are due to make a farewell appearance before they leave the playing staff.

Lauitiiti, a former New Zealand international, has a year left on his Wildcats contract.

The Wakefield club said he would be retiring after the victory over Bradford Bulls in this month’s million pound match, but he has hinted he may play on.

“We are delighted Ali has accepted our invitation to play for the Rhinos one last time,” Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said.

“The reception he always receives from the Leeds fans whenever he has returned to Headingley Carnegie with Wakefield shows the love and respect Rhinos supporters still have for him and it should make it an unforgettable evening to see him back in blue and amber.”