The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Grand Final winners Marcus Bai and Willie Poching will both return to the Rhinos side for the Champions second pre-season game against York City Knights at Bootham Crescent on Monday 3rd January, kick off 3pm.
Bai missed out on the Tetley?s Festive Challenge on Boxing Day through illness but has returned to training this week whilst Poching only arrived back in the country last week. The game will continue the Rhinos build up to the Carnegie World Club Challenge and will also see the official unveiling of new signing Gareth Ellis, who will be paraded in front of the Leeds fans before kick off. Commenting on the game Head Coach Tony Smith said, ?We are pleased to be going back to York. Since we played them last year we have formed a partnership with them and this game is a great way for them to raise their profile in the City and give their players a good test in pre-season.
?We lost out to York last season in pre-season so we know it will be a tough game but it will be good to see Marcus and Willie in action again plus I am excited about seeing our young players having another chance after impressing on Boxing Day,? added Smith.
The game will also see Nick Scruton come into the starting line up after impressing off the bench in the Tetley?s Festive Challenge whilst youngster Jamie I?Anson will start at hooker.
The team in full is: 1. Lee Smith 2. Marcus Bai 3. Chris Buttery 4. Calvin Watson 5. Matt Gardner 6. Scott Murrell 7. John Gallagher 8. Wayne McDonald 9. Jamie I?Anson 10. Nick Scruton 11. Liam Botham 12. Carl Ablett 13. Willie Poching 14. Chris Feather 15. Jason Golden 16. Luke Stenchion 17. Ashley Gibson