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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Leeds Rhinos 42 Catalans Dragons 14

27th March 2009

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos produced a clinical performance to dispatch Catalans Dragons 42-14 at Headingley Carnegie with Ryan Hall touching down twice.

Leeds Rhinos returned to Headingley Carnegie looking to bounce back from the previous week’s set back at Knowsley Road and keep control of their lead at the top of the engage Super League.

WP – Home MPU

Their win coupled with St Helens 42-18 win at Wakefield means that the Rhinos will be above Saints when the two sides meet in the Carnegie Challenge Cup Fourth Round next Sunday.

Ashley Gibson was drafted into the starting line up in place of Lee Smith, who remained in hospital recovering from the emergency surgery he underwent on his knee in midweek. There was a return on the bench for Ian Kirke, Ali Lauitiiti and Kallum Watkins.

After a well observed minutes silence in memory of Leon Walker, the young Wakefield player who tragically died a week earlier, the game kick off with a biting cold wind sweeping through Headingley Carnegie. The Rhinos were particularly sluggish and put themselves under pressure with some uncharacteristic errors. Eventually it cost them as Jason Crocker released Steven Bell 20 metres out and the centre went through to score. Thomas Bosc was unlucky to see his conversion attempt hit the post and bounce away to leave the score 4-0 after five minutes.

The Rhinos hit back five minutes later when they showed real patience on the last tackle. There seemed to be little on when Kevin Sinfield threw a long pass out wide to Scott Donald, however the winger kept the ball alive and quick hands from Gibson and Sinfield got the ball back to Danny McGuire. He stepped round three would be tackles before passing to Keith Senior who released Ryan Hall down the touchline to score his seventh try of the season. Sinfield was unable to add the touchline conversion into the wind so the scores were tied at 4-4.

The home side did take the lead after 15 minutes however and it was down to a sublime piece of skill by Rob Burrow. The scrum half timed his pass to perfection to release Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who cut back inside to go straight passed the full back and score between the posts. SInfield added the conversion to make it 10-4.

The Dragons had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but they were hit with a three try bltiz just before half time that took the game away from them. First of all, Sinfield showed great awareness to draw the defence to him in the corner before popping up a pass to Danny McGuire to score. He added an excellent touchline conversion to make it 16-4.

The lead was extended after 37 minutes when McGuire spotted a gap out wide and put through a pin point perfect kick to the corner for Hall to score his second try of the game. Sinfield was off target with the conversion but his side now led 20-4.

The Champions rounded off a clinical first half in the final minute. Ali Lauitiiti created the chance with an offload to Senior 20 metres from his own line. Senior broke clear before passing to Hall, who looked like he would complete his hat trick was tackled 15 metres short by Thomas Bosc, however Brent Webb was in support and took the inside ball to score. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 26-4 at half time.

The Rhinos increased their lead at 53 minutes when Ashley Gibson capped a fine return to the starting line up with a well taken try after quick hands created an extra man out wide. Sinfield was unable to add the conversion but the Rhinos now led 30-4.

Catalans continued to battle hard and eventually got the try their efforts deserved with the ever alert Bosc found a way through to score between the posts and give himself and easy conversion to make it 30-10.

Leeds hit back straight away as Sinfield produced an audacious reverse kick straight into the arms of the on rushing Carl Ablett, who caught the ball and crossed to score. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 36-10.

However the visitors continued to fight back and they got their third try through winger Vincent Duport who just managed to beat the cover tackle from Hall to score next to the flag. Bosc missed the conversion but Catalans had cut the Rhinos lead to 36-14.

Crucially with only points difference seperating the sides at the top of table it was important that the Rhinos finished strongly and they crossed for another try with four minutes to go. Matt Diskin spotted a gap from dummy half a metre out and forced his way over from close range. Burrow added the conversion to make it 42-14 to the Rhinos.

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