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Super League - Rugby League: Rhinos take a gamble on Smith

Leeds Rhinos' exhaustive search for a new coach finally ended on Wednesday when they unveiled Rohan Smith as Richard Agar's replacement.

The Rhinos, 50/1 to win the Grand Final, who were considered one of the potential outsiders for the Super League title, have only won once all season.

That form means they are second bottom of the Super League table and only Toulouse, who they play on Friday, sit below them.

Leeds' clash with Toulouse is one of two matches on Friday, as Castleford Tigers host St Helens, also at 20:00.

On Saturday, Hull KR will go to war against Wakefield Trinity at 15:00, while Huddersfield Giants travel to Warrington Wolves at the same time.

The other two matches take place on Sunday afternoon, with Wigan Warriors tackling Salford Red Devils and Hull FC hosting Catalans Dragons.

Time for Rhinos to prove their worth

Leeds' decision to hire Smith was not a popular one, and the majority of the club's fanbase was expecting a bigger name to be unveiled at Headingley.

That does not mean the Australian, nephew of former Rhinos boss Tony Smith, cannot succeed in West Yorkshire.

Smith coached rivals Bradford Bulls during 2016, but he has recently been coaching NRL feeder team, the Norths Devils.

Leeds have been without a permanent head coach since March when Richard Agar decided to step down. Former forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan has filled the void since then, but they have yet to win under the fan favourite.

Visa issues mean Smith will miss Friday's clash with Toulouse, a game Leeds are 1/2 to win.

Some of the Rhinos squad have worked with Smith in the past, and the experienced members of the team need to stand up and lead by example as the club enters another new era.

Elsewhere on Friday, Castleford are hoping to record a rare win against St Helens on home turf.

Kristian Woolf has named a weakened 21-man squad for Friday's clash, with Lewis Dodd now out for the season due to an Achilles injury.

Curtis Sironen and Konrad Hurrell start their two-game bans, and there are nine new faces in the team.

Lee Radford's Cas side have won four of their previous five games in all competitions and they are 1/1 to cover the -14.5 handicap.

Wakefield hoping to pounce

Wakefield Trinity travel to East Yorkshire this weekend to take on Hull KR and they will fancy their chances of an upset.

Willie Poching's men have won three of their first nine games, and they are still looking over their shoulder at the wrong end of the table.

Even though the Robins are four points better off than them, they could still be reeling from Wednesday's press conference, as head coach Tony Smith confirmed he would leave the club at the end of the season, a decision that shocked those in attendance and those in the boardroom.

It is hard to tell how the Robins will respond to the news, and it could be worth taking a gamble on Wakefield at such a crossroads in the season, with Trinity 3/1 to register a victory.

Related Super League News

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Super League: Saints show no signs of slowing

Super League: Toulouse hoping to take their chance

Williams' return could prove crucial

Warrington Wolves ill welcome Huddersfield Giants to the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday and the return of half-back George Williams will boost them.

The England international missed both games over Easter due to injury, but his return could be crucial for the Wire, as they look to return to winning ways after losing to Hull FC on Easter Monday.

Warrington, who are now 9/1 to win the Grand Final, have won six out of the last eight meetings between the pair, but they will need to be at their best to get past Ian Watson's side.

Warriors to fight on without Powell

Wigan Warriors host Salford Red Devils at 13:00 on Sunday at the DW Stadium, but they will do so without Sam Powell.

The 29-year-old has been banned for six matches due to a Grade E charge, and while his absence will be felt in the middle of the park, Wigan should have too much class for Salford.

Should Castleford beat St Helens on Friday, then a win for Wigan could take them level on points with Saints at the top of the table.

The omens look good for the Cherry and Whites, who are 5/1 to win the Grand Final this season.

They have won the previous four meetings between the pair, including a 20-0 success in the Challenge Cup in March.

Like Wigan, Catalans Dragons can also go level with Saints at the top of the table if results go their way, but they face a tricky trip to face Hull FC.

The Dragons, 10/3 to win the Grand Final, have won the previous three meetings and scored over 26 points in each of those matches, but Brett Hodgson's side are fifth in the table and trying to prove they can compete with the big boys this season.

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