Leeds Rhinos v London Broncos – Possible return of ‘old heads’ gives Dave Furner options

LONDON’S calling and vulnerable Leeds Rhinos need to call on some experience.

BACK IN THE FRAME: Leeds Rhinos' Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
BACK IN THE FRAME: Leeds Rhinos' Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Thankfully, for head coach Dave Furner, he has plenty of it to tap into ahead of tonight’s visit from the Broncos.

Former England second-rows Jamie Jones-Buchanan, 37, and Carl Ablett, 33, could both make their first appearances of the season. It will be a timely return if they make it to the field; struggling Leeds have won just one of their six fixtures so far.

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Given they have more than 700 games between them in the blue and amber, their knowledge and pedigree could be crucial in steadying the ship.

IN THE RUNNING: Leeds Rhinos' Carl Ablett. Picture: James Hardisty.

Led by the charismatic Danny Ward, who won a Grand Final with Rhinos alongside Furner and Jones-Buchanan in 2004, London have still yet to prosper on the road since being promoted. However, they have more wins than big-spending Rhinos, showing their quality by beating both Wakefield Trinity and champions Wigan Warriors at home.

Leeds, meanwhile, slipped to another defeat when falling 34-10 at Hull FC a week ago.

Ablett was due to feature following ankle surgery but, after the warm-up, decided he was not yet right to play.

Jones-Buchanan has also had injury and illness issues this term and Furner admitted: “At times we’ve missed some of that experience. They’ve had a good week and, hopefully, they pull through but I’ve not finalised the squad yet.

“We’re a team that’s had some really good games and put ourselves in a position to win – or get back in it – and then probably just not nailed those moments.

“Collectively, as a group, we’ve talked about those times and what we need to do.

“It’s not been our starts. We’ve been very positive on our starts. We just need to maintain it and it’s a little bit of that experience we need to make sure we get through those periods or moments in the game.”

Furner added: “Preparation-wise, the team knows London and their strengths; they’re a very committed team.

“They’ve earmarked this game in trying to upset us and we have to make sure we concentrate on what we do; it’s very important we stay in the arm-wrestle.”