Elland Road to host two Leeds Rhinos matches next season

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Champions Leeds will play two Super League games at Elland Road in 2018 with Danny McGuire’s Hull KR the first visitors.

The Rhinos, whose Headingley home is undergoing redevelopment work, will welcome newly promoted Hull KR on February 8 for their first home game and host Castleford in a Grand Final rematch in March.

Leeds are aiming to attract a record crowd for the homecoming of former half-back McGuire, who won eight Super League titles with the club.

“These two games at Elland Road will be fantastic occasions and our aim is to break the Super League regular season attendance record with these events,” said chief executive Gary Hetherington.

“I am sure Danny McGuire will get a tremendous reception on his return to the city for the Hull KR clash and our first meeting of next season against Castleford will be eagerly anticipated.”

Leeds will begin their title defence at Warrington on February 1 in Steve Price’s first game in charge of the Wolves, with 2017 table-toppers Castleford visiting St Helens the following night.

All televised Thursday and Friday night matches in 2018 will have an earlier kick-off time of 7.45pm.

Elsewhere on the opening weekend, Hull host Huddersfield, cross-city rivals Rovers entertain Wakefield, Wigan head to Salford and Catalans Dragons face a trip to Widnes.

Wigan and Hull will make history when they meet in Wollongong in round two, while Leeds are expected to travel to Melbourne for the World Club Challenge the following weekend.

Wakefield and Castleford will launch the Easter weekend on Thursday, March 29, with the Hull derby and Wigan’s annual clash with St Helens taking centre stage on Good Friday.

Super League executive director Roger Draper said: “2017 was a fantastic season with some of the most exciting action on the pitch I’ve ever seen.

“We believe that next season promises to be one of the most exciting ever, with plenty for rugby league supporters to look forward to.

“The Dacia Magic Weekend returns to Newcastle for the fourth consecutive year, we have a first ever Super League game in Australia and we welcome back Hull Kingston Rovers to the competition following their promotion from the Championship.”

Outside Super League, Toronto Wolfpack will play the first 11 matches of their debut season in the Championship away from home as the Canadian club upgrade Lamport Stadium.

The Wolfpack, who won promotion from League 1 in their inaugural campaign, start the year with a tough trip to relegated Leigh.

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