Former Saints Long and Eastmond now in enemy cup camp
Two highly talented former Saints players are hoping to play a major part in ending their old club's dream of adding to 12 Challenge Cup triumphs, but in different roles.
Sean Long, newly-appointed assistant coach at Leeds Rhinos, and his ex-teammate at Knowsley Road, Kyle Eastmond, who is now back in the Rugby League fold at Emerald Headingley, don't need reminding how tough trips to St Helens can be.
But the ever optimistic Long, who won five Challenge Cup winners' medals and three Lance Todd Trophy, awards during his Saints' career, said: ''They have had a lot of past success in the competition and have also come up short.
''I know winning the cup is a priority for St Helens and chairman Eamonn McManus. They will be gunning for us but cup ties are often great levellers and there is no reason why we can't progress.''
Eastmond, who left Knowsley Road in 2011 to pursue a career in Rugby Union, is keeping his fingers crossed he will be fit to play, but earlier this week head coach Richard Agar was unsure whether the ex-Bath, Wasps and Leicester Tiger player would make his squad.
Eastmond, who signed a two-year deal with the Loiners, said: ''There were a few occasions where I gave serious thought about returning to RL but this was the perfect time and place to come back.
“I feel I’ve achieved my goals in Rugby Union and joining Leeds comes at the right time at this stage in my career. I’m up for the challenge.”
Leeds coach Richard Agar said: “I would have no problems putting him in, We’ll have a look at the state of our team later in the week and make some calls.”