Saturday 11th May 2013  The John Smith's Stadium  Kick Off: 14:30:00

Huddersfield Giants Squad

Leeds Rhinos Squad

Match Preview


Peacock keen to progress in Challenge Cup

Jamie Peacock is desperate to continue his love affair with the Tetley's Challenge Cup as Leeds prepare to face Huddersfield in Saturday's stand-out fifth-round tie at the John Smith's Stadium.

The former England captain is the only member of the Super League champions to experience success in rugby league's famous knockout competition and was in the team that finished as runners-up at Wembley last August for a third consecutive year.

Peacock's two winners' medals both came with Bradford at the expense of Leeds, in Edinburgh in 2000 and in Cardiff 10 years ago, and he would like nothing better than to help his home-town team end their 14-year wait for Cup glory.

"It's a fantastic competition," he said. "It was the first trophy I ever won as a professional back in 2000.

"I remember it well. The game was nearly off because of flooding on the pitch at Murrayfield. We flew up and were there for four days, which clubs don't do now.

"I played the first 20 minutes, came off and didn't go back on but it was just great to play in a Challenge Cup final."

Peacock, now 35 but playing as well as ever, missed the 2010 final with a knee injury but was in the Leeds team that lost to Wigan and Warrington at Wembley in the last two years.

He feels the team have genuine reasons to believe that this could be their year.

They go into the tie on the back of an eight-match unbeaten run which has lifted them to within touching distance of Super League leaders Wigan.

That is in sharp contrast to the situation 12 months ago when they were limping along in seventh place and only hit their form late in the season to finish in a blaze of glory at Old Trafford.

"It's about desire," Peacock said. "We want to finish higher up the table.

"Some of our younger players are a bit more experienced and add a lot more to the team and guys like myself, Kylie (Leuluai) and Brett Delaney had a full pre-season.

"On top of that, (coaches) Jimmy Lowes and Brian Mac (McDermott) have created an environment that we're thriving in. Players enjoy the hard work and the challenges it brings.

"The worst place to lose is the semi-final because you don't get the chance to play at Wembley but losing in the final is frustrating. This year we could have the team to do it but there are four games to go yet."

In the build-up to the eagerly-anticipated derby, McDermott and Huddersfield boss Paul Anderson, who were both team-mates of Peacock in Bradford's win over Leeds in Edinburgh 13 years ago, have disputed the right to claim the underdog status.

The Giants did the double over McDermott's men last season and were the last team to beat them this year, courtesy of an impressive 32-8 triumph at Headingley in March, but they go into the game on the back of a crushing 34-12 home defeat by Warrington.

"Huddersfield have had the wood over on us in the league," Peacock said. "We've beaten them a couple of times in the play-off games when it's counted but we know it's going to be a difficult game.

"I think they're favourites at the moment - they're at home, they beat us earlier in the year and they're higher than us in the league.

"We've been managing to get the wins. We've had a couple of blips - against Huddersfield and Castleford - but, apart from that, we've played well, which is nice to see.

"We're not cocky but we've got self-belief."

Saturday's game marks the 150th appearance of Huddersfield's England centre Leroy Cudjoe, who made his debut against the Rhinos in 2008, while Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield will start his 93rd match in a row to set a new club record, eclipsing the previous best run set by winger Scott Donald from 2006-08.