McDermott still pondering Burrow role

PA Sport
Rob Burrow is set to play a key role in the Challenge Cup final for Leeds
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Rob Burrow is set to play a key role in the Challenge Cup final for Leeds

Leeds coach Brian McDermott says Rob Burrow will start Saturday's Carnegie Challenge Cup final but has yet to decide which position he will play.

Burrow, who has made the move from scrum-half to hooker over the last 12 months, has missed the Rhinos' last two Super League games with a calf strain but will definitely return to face Warrington at Wembley.

"Rob should be right," McDermott said at the Cup final media day in Manchester. "He's still got one or two things that he's got to knock off this week in prep."

With Burrow's old half-back partner Danny McGuire ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury, McDermott admits it was a huge relief to have the Great Britain international available.

"We'll miss Maggsy," he said. "There's no doubt about that. He's a big part of what we do and we all feel for Maggsy that he won't play. Had Rob been missing as well, strategically and tactically that would have been lot more difficult than it is."

Burrow made a big impact from the bench in last year's 28-18 Challenge Cup final defeat by Wigan and was man of the match in the Rhinos' Grand Final win over St Helens six weeks later.

After providing back-up for regular hooker Danny Buderus, Burrow was handed the role on a more regular basis this season but the loss of McGuire may mean a return to his old scrum-half role on Saturday.

Warrington coach Tony Smith, who knows all about the threat of McGuire from his time at Leeds, believes the Rhinos can overcome the absence of their star half-back.

"He's a terrific player who has been in good form this year but I don't know that any one key player out of any of the top teams makes that big a difference," he said. "If you had a number of key players out on any one given day, it does affect most teams but most teams are able to soak up the fact that one is missing."

With the exception of half-back Gareth O'Brien, who is out with a shoulder injury, Smith can pick from a full-strength squad.

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