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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Catalan Dragons 22 Leeds Rhinos 38

28th March 2015

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos racked up 28 unanswered points in the second half in Perpignan to go top of the First Utility Super League with a 38-22 win.

The strength of the strong wind blowing down the pitch was evident from Zak Hardaker’s kick off and the conditions would continue to cause problems for both teams in the first half.
 
The visitors struck first when they punished Catalans for a knock on near their own line. Good work by Adam Cuthbertson and Paul Aiton unlocked the home defence before Carl Ablett cut back across the defence and stepped his way through a gap to score. Liam Sutcliffe added the conversion to give his side an early 6-0 lead after twelve minutes.
 
Both teams were guilty of spilling the ball in the tricky conditions and it was the Dragons who were more clinical with their chances when they crossed for the next score. Ian Henderson and Scott Dureau combined down the Rhinos left before Elliott Whitehead took the pass and bumped off a defender to score. Dureau added the conversion to level the score after 18 minutes.
 
Leeds had to weather some strong Catalans attack after that score with a string of penalties going against them and the Rhinos were grateful for a try saving interception by Hardaker to prevent an almost certain try from Zeb Taia’s offload and then a great effort to hold up Dragon’s skipper Remi Casty on the try line soon after.
 
Having saved the tries at one end, Leeds set about scoring another at the other end of the field. Kallum Watkins in particular worked hard to get his side up field and eventually they created a second score when Stevie Ward cut back to go at the defenders who had been dealing with Watkins all evening and barged through the attempted tackle of Benjamin Garcia to score his first try of the season. Sutcliffe was on unable to add the conversion but his side held a narrow 10-6 lead at the interval.
 
The Rhinos a nightmare start to the second half as they conceded two quick tries without having possession of the ball. The Rhinos were penalised from the kick off for a high tackle and then Whitehead crossed for his second try in the first set of the half when he cut back inside the attempted tackle by McGuire. Leeds did force the Dragons to drop out from a well judged kick off by Hardaker but a knock on gave the ball back to Catalans and they promptly went upfield and took the lead when Eloi Pelissier went over from dummy half. Dureau added the conversion.
 
Catalan then crossed for a third try in the second half after Watkins lost the ball in midfield. The Dragons immediately went on the counter attack and, despite some desperate defence by Hardaker, they moved the ball wide for Damien Cardace to score in the corner. Dureau missed the conversion but his side had a commanding lead at 22-10.
 
However, having been asked a major question the Rhinos came up with all the answers to go top of the First Utility Super League. Brad Singleton timed his run to perfection to take Burrow’s pass from dummy half to barge over before skipper Danny McGuire finished off a great move by Joel Moon and Ryan Hall to score. Sutcliffe converted both tries to make it 22-22.
 
Having got the momentum back, Leeds made sure of the result with three more tries in the final twenty minutes. The first had a large slice of good fortune as Sutcliffe chased up his own kick only to see it bounce over the head of Willie Tonga as the former Australian fell and he touched the ball down.
 
The Rhinos then wrapped up the win when Watkins made the most of a nice break by Burrow from dummy half to go over before Zak Hardaker made the most of a short drop out by Catalans with the final play of the game to cross. Sutcliffe converted the final try to make the score 38-22.

WP – Home MPU

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