x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Kear expects a backlash from Rhinos

The former Castleford winger John Kear was thrilled by his old club's shock opening-day victory over Leeds, even though he believes it will make it more difficult for his Wakefield side to repeat the result at Belle Vue today.

The former Castleford winger John Kear was thrilled by his old club's shock opening-day victory over Leeds, even though he believes it will make it more difficult for his Wakefield side to repeat the result at Belle Vue today. Kear expects the Super League champions to be smarting from their 24-10 home defeat and is warning his players to expect a backlash. The Wildcats are one of only five unbeaten teams in the competition and a first home win in Super League over the Rhinos would enable them to open up a four-point gap on them.

"Brian McClennan [the Rhinos coach] will be looking for a positive response from his players," Kear said. "There is bound to be a danger of a backlash. "Leeds underperformed a little but there is no doubt their focus and intensity will be there for us on Sunday." It may still be early in the season but it could be a sign of the times that Bradford and St Helens, the teams who between them dominated the first decade of Super League, go into their match today at Odsal still looking for their first win.

Saints' 32-12 home defeat by Hull raised more question marks about their ability to offset the loss of former Great Britain internationals Sean Long and Lee Gilmour, but Steve McNamara, the Bulls coach, believes they remain a force to be reckoned with. "They have let a couple of key players go and brought a couple in and in Kyle Eastmond they have obviously got a real gem in their half-backs," he said.

In today's other game the Catalans Dragons take on Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop. In Friday's action, Wigan comfortably beat Hull KR 32-6 to go top of the table, while the Crusaders picked up their first win as they beat Salford 36-16. * With agencies