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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 18 St Helens 22

5th April 2009

By Leeds Rhinos

A last gasp try from Keith Senior was not enough to save the Rhinos from heading out of this year’s Carnegie Challenge Cup.

The Rhinos had trailed 22-12 when Senior crossed in the last minute, which was converted by Kevin Sinfield however despite the best efforts of Jamie Peacock, who produced a lung bursting run with the final play of the game, they could not conjure up a match winning score.

WP – Home MPU

St Helens were without their talismanic scrum half Sean Long so Leon Pryce moved to that position with Jon Wilkin started the game at stand off.

The Rhinos welcomed back Danny Buderus on their bench whilst Ryan Bailey and Kallum Watkins were the two players ruled out from the original 19 man squad.

The game started a high pace with both teams prepared to spread the ball to find an opening in the opponents defence. The Rhinos had the best early chance when a break by Brent Webb took them forward before possession was fed along the line and Scott Donald was adjudged to have put a foot in touch as he stretch for the line one handed.

St Helens then went down the other end of the field and gained a penalty when Webb was caught offside from a ricocheted kick. However, the visitors could find no way through the Rhinos resolute defence.

However, they did score on their next visit after referee Phil Bentham awarded a third penalty against Rhinos. The pressure eventually told and Ade Gardner was able to stretch out and dive over in the corner. Paul Wellens missed the conversion to leave the score 4-0 after 15 minutes.

The Rhinos have been officiated twice by Mr Bentham twice this season, finishing behind on the penalty count on both occasions, and they were not impressing the official again with a string of decisions going against them. However, they continued to focus on their game and eventually came up with their first try. The ball was kept alive on the last tackle and a well weighted grubber kick from Kevin Sinfield was snapped up by Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who crossed for his fourth try of the season. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 6-4.

Saints were denied a certain try two minutes later when Matt Gidley was pulled back for a forward pass when he passed to Gardner five metres out. However, a knock on by Ashley Gibson gave possession back to the visitors and they were able to force a repeat set when they penned Webb in his own in goal. From the ensuing set, James Roby produced a jinking run to wrong foot Luke Burgess and score. Wellens added the conversion to make it 10-6 to St Helens with 12 minutes remaining in the half.

Both teams continued to produce some brusing rugby but there was no further score by the interval. However, Sainbs did managed to extend their lead when Kylie Leuluai appeared to be harshly penalised for stripping the ball from Tony Puletua despite being the only man in the tackle. Wellens kicked the simple penalty to make it 12-6 after 44 minutes.

That lead was extended 51 minutes when Wellens and Pryce combined to create space for the former to glide round on the outside and score. He missed the conversion to leave the score 16-6 to the visitors.

The visitors extended their lead with a fourth try after 57 minutes when Matt Gidley held off the challenge of Rob Burrow and Ryan Hall to score in the corner. Wellens was off target with the conversion to leave the score 20-6 but the Rhinos Carnegie Challenge Cup hopes were very much in the balance.

Leeds needed to score next and they did. Keith Senior burst through in midfield before passing back inside to Webb, who managed to evade the last tackle and went over next to the posts. Sinfield added the conversion to cut the deficit to 20-12 after 62 minutes.

Wellens was able to extend that lead however with a penalty from 20 metres out when Luke Burgess was penalised for a high tackle after 66 minutes.

The cushion of those two second half penaltieswas to prove crucial because despite Senior late try following good work by McGuire and Ablett, Leeds were left just short in the final analysis.

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