Rhinos' last Wembley hero tips Leeds to reach final
Leroy Rivett is no stranger to the Challenge Cup: the ex-Leeds Rhinos winger still holds the record for most tries in a Wembley final after he scored four against London Broncos in 1999.
Rivett is confident his old team can make the final and lift the trophy for the first time since his Lance Todd Trophy-winning heroics 15 long years.
Leeds have first got to overcome Warrington Wolves in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final at Langtree Park, St Helens, on Saturday (2.30pm).
“I was a prominent feature in the Rhinos’ side in the build up to the 1999 final,” said Rivett.
“The squad was announced on the Thursday before the final and I was thrilled to be included. There was tough competition at the time with Francis Cummins, Paul Sterling, Marcus St Hilaire and Marvin Golden in the side.
“The night before the final was a relaxed one. I was rooming with Richie Blackmore and most of us were just talking about the game or playing table tennis. You’re not going to believe this but I had a great night’s sleep and dreamt I scored a hat-trick in the final!
“The Wembley experience is difficult to put into words. As you walk down the players tunnel and start to see the stadium full of fans it just gets bigger and bigger the closer you get to the pitch.”
Rivett, who now works in schools supporting young people with social and emotional development, recalls the moment when he put the ball down for a record breaking fourth time at Wembley.
“As an athlete you take all this in your stride,” said Rivett. “The game goes by so quickly. It was surreal to score four tries but I didn’t get overwhelmed by the whole experience as I knew we had won the game by that point.
“Lifting the Challenge Cup Trophy and Lance Todd Trophy on the same day wasn’t the biggest buzz for me that day. It was actually walking down that tunnel and the pride of playing for the Rhinos in front of all of those fans. It was enhanced by the way the lads played the game too.”
Castleford Tigers coach Daryl Powell played alongside Rivett on that memorable day and it’s no surprise to him that the Tigers are doing so well this season.
“It’s great to see Daryl doing a fantastic job at Castleford. He has taken the spirit of 1999 and instilled it into this squad. You can see the lads want to work hard for each other and win every game.
“I think it will be an all-Yorkshire final with Leeds and Castleford winning at the weekend. I’ll definitely be watching both games to see if this happens.”
Tickets for the Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final tie at Langtree Park on Saturday August 9 (2.30pm) can be purchased from as little as £18 for adults and £9 for concessions and juniors. Ticket prices will increase by £2 per adult and £1 per concession on matchday.
Tickets for the 2014 Tetley’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 23 cost from aa little as £22 and can be purchased by calling the 24-hour Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk