Leeds captain Danny McGuire believes his clubs early exit from the Challenge Cup could prove to be a blessing in disguise as they look to start their climb up the Super League ladder. The Rhinos ailing fortunes hit rock bottom with their 36-22 sixth-round defeat at Huddersfield last Friday but, after playing virtually every week of the season during their two-year Cup reign, it will at least offer them some respite with three blank weekends to come over the next three months.Maybe that is a little bit of a blessing, said McGuire, who is expected to return from injury to lead the side against Castleford at Headingley on Thursday, live on Sky Sports 3 HD from 7.30pm. We can get a couple of weekends off here and there and rest players and focus on the league competition.Wed still love to be in the Challenge Cup because we know how special it is, but its not to be this year so we have to focus on playing well in the league.McGuires sentiments are echoed by his long-serving team-mate Rob Burrow, who is one of only three ever-presents in Leeds injury-ravaged season so far. Although were sitting bottom of the league, we still feel were capable of a good run. Danny McGuire The cup is a real distraction, he said. Weve enjoyed being involved with that and wed love to have been there again this year but weve got to forget about that now.We need to put all our eggs in the one basket and climb up the league and get into that top eight.We say it every week that we need to do it quick because the games are running out. Jake Webster scored twice in Castlefords win over Leeds on March 24 If the bottom-of-the-table reigning champions are to reach the Super 8s, Castleford are one of the teams they will need to overtake.The Tigers are five points ahead in eighth spot and although they have lost their last three league games, they bounced back to form with an impressive 32-18 Cup win over Salford last week and have their sights set on completing the double over their neighbours following their 18-14 win at the Jungle at Easter.Cas are a great side and they did really well at the weekend with some halves who dont usually play there, said Burrow. Theyre winning with injuries and were not. Castleford head coach Daryl Powell talks to Sky Sports about the season so far McGuire, who has missed Leeds last four matches with a nagging calf injury, insists spirits remain high at Headingley despite their troubles on the pitch.The mood is good to be honest, he said. Its tough when youre not winning and youre not playing well.It can be a tough environment to be around. But weve got a good set of lads in this team, all pulling in the right direction.Although were sitting bottom of the league, we still feel were capable of a good run. We just need to get some consistency and pick up some wins and then see where we are after 23 rounds. Highlights of Castlefords victory over Leeds earlier this season Castleford will give a debut to winger Paddy Flynn, who has joined them on loan from Widnes, and have full-back Luke Dorn and acting captain Luke Gale back from injury.Loose forward Nathan Massey has been included in coach Daryl Powells initial squad despite dislocating a kneecap in the win over Salford.Leeds Rhinos: Mitch Achurch, Luke Briscoe, Rob Burrow, Adam Cuthbertson, Brett Ferres, Keith Galloway, Mitch Garbutt, Ashton Golding, Ash Handley, Zak Hardaker, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Jimmy Keinhorst, Jordan Lilley, Danny McGuire, Anthony Mullally, Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe, Josh Walters, Kallum Watkins.Castleford Tigers: Matt Cook, Ben Crooks, Luke Dorn, Paddy Flynn, Luke Gale, Lee Jewitt, Will Maher, Nathan Massey, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Junior Moors, Joel Monaghan, Larne Patrick, Gadwin Springer, Denny Solomona, Danny Tickle, Jake Webster.Watch Leeds v Castleford live on Sky Sports 3 HD on Thursday from 7.30pm. Catch the match for £6.99 with a NOW TV day pass. Juan Carlos Medina Jersey
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. -- With the Memphis Grizzlies struggling to find their offensive rhythm, O.CHICAGO -- Experience trumps talent. At least at this point in the year. Branden Dawson tipped in a miss with less than six seconds left, and No. 2 Michigan State hung on for a 78-74 victory over top-ranked Kentucky and its latest cast of young phenoms in the first game of the Champions Classic on Tuesday night. As James Young missed a 3-pointer, the Michigan State fans -- including the Spartan in Chief, Magic Johnson, erupted. Gary Harris held up his index finger, indicating the No. 1 ranking the Spartans (2-0) are sure to have next week. But this might not be the last these two teams see of each other. With four of the top five teams in the one-day tournament -- Duke and Kansas played in the nightcap -- its no stretch to imagine this as a sneak peek at the Final Four. The Spartans Keith Appling came within two rebounds and two assists of a triple-double, finishing with 22 points, and eight rebounds and assists. Harris had 20 points and Adreian Payne had 15 points and four rebounds. Julius Randle led the Wildcats (2-1) with 27 points -- all but four in the second half -- and 13 rebounds. Andrew Harrison had 11. But the Wildcats were hurt by early turnovers and they were just 20 of 36 from the free throw line. This was the earliest 1 vs. 2 match-up, and first since Feb. 23, 2008, when Tennessee beat top-ranked Memphis. The Tigers coach then? None other than John Calipari. This game had even more hype, mostly because of the Kiddie Cats. Much has been made of the youngsters, with good reason. The last time Calipari had a roster this star-studded, the Wildcats won a national title. And this group might be even more impressive. Six were McDonalds All-Americans, and all are considered lottery picks in next suummers NBA draft, with Randle a possibility for the overall No.dddddddddddd. 1. The youngsters did nothing to lessen the hype in their first two games, with Randle averaging 22.5 points and 15 rebounds, and the Harrison twins averaging in double figures. No wonder the game brought out scouts from almost every NBA team and celebrities including Nazr Mohammed and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. But the Spartans arent exactly slouches, returning six of their top seven scorers. Just as important, big-time games like this are nothing new to them, with coach Tom Izzo routinely scheduling the likes of Connecticut, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas before Jan. 1. The experience showed early, as the Spartans harassed Kentucky relentlessly on both ends of the court. But Kentucky has too much talent to stay down for long. After trailing by 13 with 11:32 to play, the Wildcats came roaring back behind Randle, who left little doubt why coaches throughout the NBA covet him. He scored nine points in Kentuckys 13-1 run, including a "Howd he do that?" off-balance jumper from behind a sea of green jerseys. Andrew Harrison followed with a layup to cut Michigan States lead to 60-59 with 8:05 to play. Andrew Harrison and Randle each made a pair of free throws, tying the game at 66 with 4:48 left. But Appling drilled a 3, and Harris stripped Randle at the other end and took it in for a layup that put Michigan State back in front, 71-66. Randle wasnt done just yet. After Andrew Harrisons free throws Kentucky within 76-72 with 1:33 to play, the Wildcats pounced on an Appling turnover and Randle scored on a jumper. But Dawson tipped in a miss by Denzel Valentine at the other end to seal the win. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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