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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 34 Catalans Dragons 6

22nd February 2008

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos ran out convincing 34-6 winners over Catalans Dragons at Headingley Carnegie with Scott Donald and Keith Senior grabbing two tries each. There were also further tries for Ali Lauitiiti, Ian Kirke and Danny McGuire on a cold and windy night. Both teams made only one change to their starting line up from the previous week. Kylie Leuluai returned for the Rhinos after overcoming a bout of flu with Nick Scruton making way. For Catalans Cyril Gossard was replaced by Sebastien Raguin in the starting line up whilst young centre Jean-Philippe Baile earned his second ever appearance in Super League on the bench.

The Rhinos made a fantastic start with Brent Webb and Gareth Ellis both going close in the opening minutes. However, it was the visitors who did actually score the first try as they broke through 40 metres out, John Wilson was tackled by Lee Smith but he managed to get the ball away to Demitri Pelo who scored in the corner under pressure from Clinton Toopi. Thomas Bosc added the conversion to give the Dragons a surprise 6-0 lead. The Champions did not allow themselves to panic however and ten minutes later they crossed for their first try. McGuire and Sinfield brilliantly kept the ball alive before Jamie Jones-Buchanan offloaded one handed as he headed to the ground to Rob Burrow, he fed Keith Senior who in turn put Scott Donald away for his fourth try in as many games. Sinfield was unable to add the touchline conversion into a blustery wind. However, the Rhinos did take the lead after 21 minutes through Senior. The home side got a penalty after a high shot on Sinfield in front of the Catalans posts, they elected to run it and three passes later Senior crashed over to score. Sinfield conversion attempt was off target again however so the lead was just 8-6. The Rhinos then had to defend their line with everything they had as Catalans enjoyed a prolonged spell in the Leeds quarter. McGuire in particular produced a timely intercept to stop a certain try. Having absorbed that pressure, the Dragons indiscipline allowed the Rhinos to move down field after gaining two quick penalties before Ian Kirke produced a tremendous second effort to force his way over. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 14-6 to the Rhinos are 34 minutes. The half ended with Catalans being reduced to 12 men when Jerome Guisset was sin binned following repeated penalties against the Frenchmen.

WP – Home MPU

The Rhinos started the second half looking hungry to build on their lead whilst they had the numerical advantage. Sinfield seemed to have a great chance to score but just could not hold onto a bobbling ball. As Catalans tried to come away from their line, Ryan Bailey did brilliantly to rip the ball away in a one on one tackle before running across field and setting up Donald to race round the outside and score. Sinfield was off target again from the touchline but the Rhinos now led 18-6 after 46 minutes. That lead was extended after 63 minutes when Danny McGuire supported a great break by Webb in midfield before sprinting through to score between the posts. As Sinfield added the conversion, Webb was led from the field with a bad cut to his mouth which appeared to come from a late challenge as he passed to McGuire. The Rhinos then had to once again withstand a wave of Catalans pressure but an intercept by Lee Smith eventually took them clear. The ball was fed along the line from the right wing to the left and a fantastic offload by Carl Ablett released Senior who sprinted down field to score from 40 metres out. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 28-6 after 76 minutes. The Rhinos had the final word in the last second as Ali Lauitiiti forced his way over for a well deserved try after a full blooded appearance off the bench for the second rower. Sinfield was unable to add the conversion so the final score was 34-6 to the Champions.

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