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Leeds Rhinos

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Leeds Rhinos 14 Bradford Bulls 38

29th June 2007

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds and Bradford clashed for the third time this season in a game that was billed as the re-match after the Rhinos hit two late knock out punches in the previous two meetings.

However, in this meeting there was never any doubt of the result the in final seconds as Bradford secured a 38-14 win after an error strewn performance by the Rhinos.

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The game was given extra spice in the build up with the fact that it was Lesley Vainikolo's final game for the Bulls before switching codes to Rugby Union. The Volcano had scored 14 tries in 19 games against Leeds and was looking to go out on a high.

The game started in bright evening sunshine with a capacity crowd inside Headingley Carnegie to welcome the sides.

Bradford had the best of the early pressure and could have opened the scoring after five minutes when Dave Solomona kicked ahead for Lesley Vainikolo to chase. However, Lee Smith did well to chase back and knock the ball dead. The Rhinos were forced to drop out but managed to force an error to stem the chance.

However, Bradford did get the score their early pressure warranted and who else but Vainikolo was the scorer. Evans offloaded under pressure from McGuire and Smith attempted a tap tackle on Vainikolo. However, the giant winger stepped out of that and pushed off the attempted tackle of Webb before shrugging off the challenge of his former team mate Jamie Peacock and running in for the score after nine minutes. Deacon added the conversion to make it 6-0.
The Rhinos responded well to the set back and had their first spell of pressure in the Bulls after soon afterwards.

However, Platt latched onto a loose ball and raced clear. The full back looked like would score but great work by Webb and Donald stopped the danger just inside the Leeds half. However, two tackles later Bradford got the chance to extent their lead when Sinfield was penalised for holding down. Deacon kicked the penalty to make it 8-0 after 19 minutes.

Leeds got their first try of the game after 24 minutes. Having elected to take a tap within kicking range, Kylie Leuluai went close twice to scoring his first try for the club however Matt Diskin then showed intuitive dummy half skill to go over from close range, stretching out one handed before planting the ball down. Sinfield was off target with the conversion but Leeds were finally on the scoreboard.

However, Bradford hit back with four minutes remaining in the half. Paul Deacon took aim from 15 metres out with a kick to the corner and James Evans out jumped Clinton Toopi and Lee Smith to score. Deacon's conversion making it 14-4.

But there was still time left for Leeds to finish the half on the up and it came with two minutes remaining. Leeds had got the ball back after a determined run by Jamie Jones-Buchanan from the re-start. Then Kevin Sinfield showed brilliant vision to spot Vainikolo had drifted in off his wing and a perfectly weighted long pass to a well time run by Smith saw the young winger go in at the corner. Sinfield was again off target but the half time score was now 14-8.
Leeds started the second half brightly and were unlucky not to level the game when Jamie Jones-Buchanan offloaded to Danny McGuire who touched down only to see referee Phil Bentham signalling the ball had gone forward.

Within a minute Bradford had extended their lead when they worked the ball wide and new signing Tame Tupou forced his way over in the corner. Deacon added the conversion to make it 20-8 to the visitors after 50 minutes.
Leeds again came back after 58 minutes when Rob Burrow and Brent Webb combined close to the line to send the New Zealand international over for his 18th try of the season. Sinfield converted this time to make it 20-14.

However, straight from the re-start Leeds conceded. Ryan Bailey attempted to offload to Sinfield on the first tackle but the ball went to ground, albeit in a backward direction, however Bradford got head and feed at the scrum. Soon afterwards they elected to tap a penalty and eventually got their reward when Andy Lynch forced his way over from close range.

Two minutes later the visitors established an 18 point lead when a pass to McGuire dropped between him and Clinton Toopi. Dave Solomona was quickest to react and he passed to Glenn Morrison, who held off the tackle of Donald to score between the posts. Deacon converted both to make it 32-14 after 62 minutes.
With three minutes remaining, the Bulls scored again and it was almost a carbon copy of the last score accept this time it was former Rhino Marcus St Hilaire who picked up the loose pass by Jones-Buchanan between McGuire and Toopi and he scampered over for the score. Deacon was again on target to make it 38-14 to the Bulls.

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