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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 23 Wigan Warriors 16

31st May 2008

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos are through to the Carnegie Challenge Cup semi final after a nail biting 23-16 win over Wigan at Headingley Carnegie. It took a try from Scott Donald with three minutes remaining to settle the nerves and then Kevin Sinfield sealed the Rhinos place in the draw with a drop goal in the last minute. Wembley was very much on the minds of both these sides as they lined up at a warm Headingley Carnegie for this Quarter Final tie. Both teams missed out last season on returning to Wembley, with the visitors having knocked the Rhinos out in 2007.

The game started in bright fashion with both teams looking to promote the ball at every opportunity. Wigan got the first points of the game after just two minutes when Pat Richards kicked a penalty from in front of the posts. However, two minutes later Matt Diskin crossed for the first try. Kevin Sinfield and Diskin combined well to move the ball downfield before Diskin went from dummy half five metres out, brushed off the attempted tackle by Andy Coley and dived over between the posts. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 6-2 to the home side. The Rhinos were denied a second try after 16 minutes when video referee Ashley Klein adjudged that Scott Donald had been held up by Darrell Goulding after the winger had brilliantly leapt to take Sinfield's cross field kick in midair. Wigan seemed to grow in confidence after that and got their second penalty of the game after a bizarre passage of blow. In one set, Wigan appeared to knock on three times but on each occassion referee Richard Silverwood said the ball had gone backwards, then after two more knock ons, Wigan were awarded penalties. Eventually, they decided that they had rided their luck a bit far and elected to kick for goal. Richards making it 6-4. However, the Rhinos responded in fine style two minutes later. A cross field kick was knocked backwards by Webb onto the head of Wigan defender. Burrow picked up the loose ball and raced 60 metres to score between the posts. Sinfield's conversion making it 12-4. Once again, Wigan came back at the Rhinos and they looked certain to score as the half drew to a close. However, Webb produced a brilliant tackle to stop Carmont, when it appeared the centre was over the line then Scott Donald out jumped four Wigan attackers to defuse a bomb on his own line. However, it was a case of third time lucky for the Warriors. Another crossfield kick was contested by Donald and Calderwood and, although Donald caught the ball in midair, Calderwood ripped it from his possession and planted the ball down. Richards added the conversion to make it 12-10 at half time.

WP – Home MPU

The Rhinos came out fired up after the break and took the initiative straight from the off. Sinfield spotted that the Wigan players were slow to line up for the kick off and dribbled the ball forward ten metres before diving on the loose ball. The home side continued the pressure after that. Luke Burgess was denied a try by referee Silverwood after his touch judge spotted the prop offside from McGuire's kick then video ref Klein ruled out a score by Gareth Ellis after replays showed he had lost control of the ball in the act of grounding it. It was the turn of Wigan to miss out on a score after 50 minutes. It appeared as if Richards had given his side the lead but replays showed that Carl Ablett had been taken out off the ball giving Richards a clear run to the line. Leeds needed to get a score to settle the nerves and it was perfectly timed when it came. Burrow set Diskin away, the hookers angle taking him clear of the defence before offloading to Brent Webb to mark his new 3 year deal with the club with a try. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 18-10 after 56 minutes. It was Wigan now who were chasing the game and they got a lifeline with 12 minutes remaining through a try from Tommy Leuluai. The chance came after Ryan Bailey had blocked a kick however in the previous play the ball, the Wigan scrum half had appeared to knock on. Referee Silverwood ignored the calls and ironically two tackles later it was the same man who burst through the Leeds defence to score. Richards converted to make it 18-16. That set up a grandstand finish as both teams looked to save their Carnegie Challenge Cup lives. The number of high tackles that the World Champions were having to suffer was becoming a concern as several players had to leave the field to receive stitches to wounds. McGuire and Webb produced an incredible tackle to deny Colbon a try in the corner and then a bullocking run by Keith Senior took the Rhinos clear. Burrow kept up the momentum before Scott Donald gave the home side breathing space with a try in the corner. Sinfield was unsuccessful with the conversion so the lead was still just six points with four minutes remaining. However, the Rhinos progress to the semi final was confirmed in the final minute when Sinfield proved the coolest of heads in the heat with a sweet drop goal from 20 metres out. 

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