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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 39 Canterbury Bulldogs 32

4th February 2005

By Leeds Rhinos

Super League champions Leeds Rhinos turned on the style to maintain the domination of British teams in the Carnegie World Club Challenge.

The Rhinos held off a tremendous second-half fightback by the Australian premiers to secure the club’s first ever world title.

WP – Home MPU

Leeds looked out of sight when they led 38-12 after 54 minutes but the Bulldogs scored four tries in a devastating 15-minute spell to set up a tense finish.

It was left to skipper Kevin Sinfield to calm nerves among the bumper Elland Road crowd of 37,028, the highest for a World Club Challenge in Britain, with a 78th-minute drop goal as the Rhinos became the fourth British winners since the event was re-introduced in 2000.

Chev Walker opened the scoring on five minutes when Gareth Ellis worked the ball out wide and Walker took McGuire's pass to cut inside Patten to touch down.

The Rhinos' second try was a gift from the error-prone Patten, who failed to control Kevin Sinfield's long, raking kick inside his own 20-metre area and pacy Mark Calderwood coolly tapped the ball ahead to touch down.  Sinfield's second conversion made it 12-0 before Canterbury briefly threatened a comeback.

Sonny Bill Williams, easily the Bulldogs' most impressive player, was inches short of touching down before El Masri crossed the line on 19 minutes after skipper Tony Grimaldi had cleverly offloaded the ball to Patten.  El Masri's touchline conversion halved the deficit but was merely the signal for the Rhinos to cut loose with some brilliant attacking rugby and support play.

McGuire's sweet score got the big crowd roaring and the decibel level rose to new levels with two more exceptional tries in the last 10 minutes of the first half.  First a neat pass from Walker unleashed Calderwood and his kick ahead was collected by substitute forward Willie Poching.

Then, in the best move of the match in which the ball whirled through nine pairs of hands, Rob Burrow took Marcus Bai's pass to touch down for the Rhinos' fifth try and Sinfield kicked his third goal.  Patten made amends for his miserable first half when he raced on to substitute Brent Oliver's pass to score the Bulldogs' second try, again goaled by El Masri, but it did little to halt the pattern of the game.

Leeds did not need any assistance from their long-distance visitors but they took full advantage of another two defensive blunders to extend their lead.  Mathers pounced for a try on 51 minutes after McGuire's kick eluded Patten and three minutes later second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan touched down after El Masri tried to pass from an impossible position after being cornered by another McGuire kick.

Sinfield took the score to 38-12 with his fifth goal but the Australians dominated the last 25 minutes, scoring four tries to set up a tense finish.  Kamaal Lolesi touched down twice, El Masri grabbed his second and skipper Tony Grimaldi scored tries, with El Masri taking his goal tally to four.

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