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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Huddersfield Giants 10 Leeds Rhinos 30

10th February 2008

By Leeds Rhinos

A clinical first half display from the Rhinos was enough to secure a 30-10 win over Huddersfield in front of a record crowd for the Giants at the Galpharm Stadium.

The Champions made the short trip down the M62 for their first away game of the new engage Super League season to take on Jon Sharp's Huddersfield Giants side.

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The home side were expecting a record Super League crowd for their first game of the season and an army of Rhinos fans also made the journey to bolster the large gate. Ryan Hall was selected ahead of Lee Smith on the right wing whilst Jamie Jones-Buchanan returned to action after missing last week's season opener against Hull KR.

Huddersfield came out looking to impress their large following and put the Rhinos under real pressure in the opening couple of minutes. However two penalties in quick succession from referee Ian Smith put the Rhinos in good field position.

Danny McGuire had the Giants back peddling and a clever kick by Matt Diskin gifted Brent Webb with the opening try of the game. Kevin Sinfield added the conversion to make it 6-0 after three minutes. Both teams were keen to play open rugby in the early spring sunshine and that created a great atmosphere in the opening exchanges.

The Giants eventually hit back when winger Rod Jensen powered down the touchline before bumping off the wouldbe tackles of Brent Webb and Clinton Toopi to score. Chris Thorman was unable to add the conversion so Leeds still led 6-4 after 11 minutes. The Rhinos were able to extend their lead six minutes later when a short pass by McGuire released Jamie Jones-Buchanan near the Giants line and the second rower showed real strength to force the ball down under pressure to mark his return to the team with a try. Sinfield's conversion attempt drifted to the right of the posts so it remained 10-4.

Leeds then had to produce two pieces of outstanding defence to keep Huddersfield out. Firstly it was an individual, Webb, who rescued his team with a brilliant cover tackle on Jensen to take him into touch at the corner flag. Then, after Toopi had knocked on from the restart, there was a great collective team effort to repel the Giants from ten metres out for an entire set. Having absorbed that pressure, the Rhinos finished the first half in fine fashion.

Firstly, Webb scored his second try of the game off a great kick by Danny McGuire from close range. Then in the last second of the half, Ryan Hall latched onto an offload by Ali Lauitiiti, stepped back inside the sliding defence and then outsprinted Jensen to score in the corner. Sinfield converted both to make the half time score 22-4 to the visitors.

Leeds dominated the next 15 minutes but they were unable to extend their lead. The highlight of that period was an incredible dummy by Toopi which deceived not only the Giants defence but most of the crowd, as he raced down the touchline. However, the cover defence just got back snuffed out the chance. Huddersfield hit back after 63 minuts when Luke Robinson dummied and stepped through the Rhinos line from a scrum to score between the posts from 20 metres out.

Thorman added the conversion to make it 28-10. However, the Rhinos had the last word as Rob Burrow kicked a penalty with three minutes remaining to seal a 30-10 victory for the visitors in front of 15,629 supporters, a record home attendance in the summer era for the Giants.

Huddersfield Giants: Thorman (c), Elford, Whatuira, Wild, Jensen, Brown, Robinson, Crabtree, Hudson, Griffen, Lolesi, Snitch, Raleigh Subs: Gatis, Skandalis, Mason, Cudjoe

Leeds Rhinos: Webb, Hall, Toopi, Senior, Donald, McGuire, Burrow, Leuluai, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis, Sinfield (c) Subs: Lauitiiti, Kirke, Ablett, Bailey

Referee: Ian Smith

Attendance: 15,629

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