Buchanan excited for a fresh start

Leeds Rhinos (12/1 Challenge Cup outright) interim boss Jamie Jones-Buchanan says his side must relish a fresh opportunity as they prepare to face Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Challenge Cup in their first match since Richard Agar resigned as coach.

Agar decided to step down at the start of the week after watching his side lose their fifth game in six in the Betfred Super League. Salford Red Devils came from behind to beat Leeds 26-12, and it was the final straw for Agar, who believes he has taken the team as far as he can.

Buchanan, a former Rhinos star, knows all about the demands at Headingley, but the preparation has been far from ideal ahead of Saturday’s 16:30 KO.

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The Tigers (20/1 Challenge Cup outright), coached by Lee Radford, also have only won once so far this season, and Buchanan believes his team can benefit from a clean slate without the pressures of the league table.

He told BBC Radio Leeds: “There’s always a massive priority to be successful. It provides an opportunity, it provides revivals, a distraction from what the league form looks like.

“If there’s ever a time where we wanted a different focus, then it’s in the Challenge Cup this week.

“I just want performance to be better than where it’s been. If you look at the roster and the DNA of Leeds, it’s not where we want to be.

“I’m looking forward to have the chance to put a smile on people’s faces.”

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