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Jamie Peacock: Leeds Rhinos can challenge St Helens for Super League title in 2022

Former Leeds Rhinos forward Jamie Peacock, who will be running 100 miles around London in support of charity Greenhouse Sports in April, has been impressed with the club’s recruitment and expects them to be fighting for honours again in Super League

Last Updated: 21/01/22 10:24am



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Ex-Leeds Rhinos prop Jamie Peacock will attempt a 100-mile charity run alongside sports agency founder Simon Dent in aid of Greenhouse Sports’ 20th anniversary

Ex-Leeds Rhinos prop Jamie Peacock will attempt a 100-mile charity run alongside sports agency founder Simon Dent in aid of Greenhouse Sports’ 20th anniversary

Jamie Peacock has backed his old club Leeds Rhinos to challenge current Betfred Super League kings St Helens for supremacy when the 2022 season gets under way.

Saints wrapped up a third-straight title when they edged out Catalans Dragons 12-10 in last year’s Grand Final at Old Trafford, becoming only the second team in the competition’s history – after the Rhinos – to achieve that feat and edging ahead of them in the all-time list of Super League champions.

But with Leeds adding exciting half-backs Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin, Tonga international David Fusitu’a and former St Helens second row James Bentley to their squad for the coming season, the man who was part of six Grand Final triumphs in his 10 seasons at Headingley expects the club to be back to where they believe they belong after some tough times in recent years.

“I think Leeds Rhinos are going to really challenge this year,” Peacock, who is preparing for a 100-mile charity run in April, told Sky Sports News. “They’ve made four fantastic signings.

“The Saints side at the moment is absolutely brilliant with three finals and three wins in a row.

“But I think they’re going to get challenged by Catalans and Leeds Rhinos – I think it’s going to be those three.”

Former Great Britain and England international Peacock, who was also part of three Grand Final successes with Bradford Bulls, is set to become the latest ex-Rhino to embark on an epic fundraising challenge when he and sports agency founder Simon Dent take to the streets of London.

The pair are again supporting Greenhouse Sports, which is celebrating 20 years of providing sports coaching and mentoring to underprivileged children and young people, having raised £60,000 last year when they ran 52 miles around the capital.

Keen to go further than a double marathon, Peacock and Dent will now be covering nearly double that distance and it follows his old club and international team-mate Kevin Sinfield – recently made an OBE – running 101 miles from Leicester to Leeds in support of the Motor Neurone Disease Association and another former Rhino, Rob Burrow.

“Kev is really resilient, and I could tell, because you can see in people’s eyes when you’ve got a good relationship with them, that he was well and truly in the hurt locker,” Peacock, who joined Sinfield for one of the legs of that run in December, said.

“I’ve seen him in tough days in tough training sessions and I reckon he was deeper in that hurt locker in that run. It made it feel very, very real to me running that little bit with Kev.

The guys at the Rhinos, we just like being involved and doing the right things for charity.

Jamie Peacock

“But the guys at the Rhinos, we just like being involved and doing the right things for charity. I think you’ve got a duty if you’re in the public eye to do something for charity and why not make it a big challenge along the way?”

Peacock admits the biggest challenge will be the mental battle of running a double loop of London, having felt that in the closing stages of last year’s run. However, he will be looking to Sinfield for some advice.

“That’s going to be the challenge, psychologically, when we’ve been around once,” Peacock said. “I remember when we got to the back in the double marathon, and it began to bite.

“It got difficult, and we’ll have to do all that again to get round. With a challenge like that, you can train as much as you want but it’s just mentally in the last eight to 10 hours, battling against yourself and being able to push yourself through.

Kevin Sinfield reflects on receiving his OBE from the Duke of Cambridge and reveals he is planning a third challenge to raise money in aid of MND research

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Kevin Sinfield reflects on receiving his OBE from the Duke of Cambridge and reveals he is planning a third challenge to raise money in aid of MND research

Kevin Sinfield reflects on receiving his OBE from the Duke of Cambridge and reveals he is planning a third challenge to raise money in aid of MND research

“But plenty of people have done these kinds of distances before like my ex-captain at the Rhinos Kev, so I’ll be leaning on him for advice along the way.”

Return of scrums ‘important’ to rugby league

Meanwhile, Peacock backed the decision from the RFL to reintroduce scrums at all levels of rugby league for the 2022 season.

Scrums were suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic in an effort to reduce the risk of contracting the virus from close contact, but are set to return after the target of having 85 per cent of players in both the Super League and Championship vaccinated was met.

But while scrums have generally ceased to be contested by the opposing packs, former forward Peacock is in no doubt they still serve a purpose by providing a great opportunity for teams to get attacks going.

Scrums to return in rugby league for 2022 season

Scrums will return to rugby league in England for the 2022 season, the Rugby Football League has confirmed.

“I think the scrums are an important part of rugby league,” Peacock said. “Why you have scrums and what you do in the scrums has changed over the last 25 to 30 years.

“If you go back 20 years or so the scrum was just there for some forwards to settle a score with each other – I’ve seen that happen a couple of times in my career.

“But now, I think it’s a great opportunity for the opposition backs to attack and I think it adds to the excitement.

“I’m glad scrums are back – and I bet some of the forwards are glad they are back too because it gives them a chance to have a breather.”



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