Both clubs are effectively playing knockout rugby, but Rhinos will go into the game on the back of two contrasting victories over Giants this season. Here’s a scene-setter.
Betfred Super League round 23
Where and when?
Venue: John Smith’s Stadium
Date: Sunday, August 27.
Giants’ star man: Jake Connor, who has been playing at full-back, can be erratic - he made a crucial late mistake against Leeds at Easter and wasn’t selected for the June rematch - but is also a potential match-winner with the ability to create something out of nothing, for himself and teammates.
Key battle: Both teams are captained by their number 13. Australian Luke Yates has been influential since joining Giants from Salford Red Devils ahead of the 2021 season. His rival Cameron Smith was outstanding for Rhinos in last weekend’s 24-22 win over Warrington Wolves and has been one of Leeds’ best during a difficult campaign.
Previous meeting: June 23, 2023. Betfred Super League round 16. Rhinos 54 (Tries Walters 2, Fusitu’a 2, Martin 2, Myler, Handley, McDonnell. Goals Martin 9), Huddersfield 0. Referee: Ben Thaler. Attendance: 14,590.
Verdict: The gap between the sides in this season’s two previous meetings, both won by Leeds, was one point and 54, so, yet again, it is a tough one to call. Giants have improved since their drubbing at Headingley in June, but were well beaten, 32-8, by visitors Salford last week. They have players who can damage Rhinos, but Leeds showed good signs last time out, against Warrington and if they are as clinical - and have a similar amount of luck - they should edge another precious win.