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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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St Helens 10 Leeds Rhinos 22

6th July 2007

By Leeds Rhinos

The Rhinos produced a performance of guts and determination to defeat St Helens 22-10 on their own patch with a heroic defensive effort throughout and clinical attack.

Tony Smith made just one change to his side that lost to Bradford the previous week with Ryan Hall coming for Lee Smith on the left wing. Meanwhile, there was a return on the bench for Ali Lauitiiti after his enforced lay off with a knee injury.

WP – Home MPU

The Rhinos won the last clash between these two giants of the game at Headingley Carnegie but Saints were unbeaten since that day and out to stamp their home advantage on the game.

Leeds started strongly with some determined defence to put the pressure on the home side and then Brent Webb did well to get out from his own in goal from the kick on the last. After just five minutes Leeds scored the first points of the game. McGuire made a good break in midfield before finding Clinton Toopi. The Kiwi powered down field but was tackled ten metres short. The ball was moved in field and Leeds were awarded a penalty in front of the posts with Saints offside. Sinfield kicked the penalty to make it 2-0.

Both teams were determined to play the game in the right manner and it produce and full blooded affair for the fans packed inside Knowsley Road. Saints could have scored if Lee Gilmour had taken Keiron Cunningham's short pass however the Rhinos then had the best chance to score the opening try.

Sinfield latched onto a loose ball and fed Clinton Toopi who sprinted his way upfield and looked certain to score. However, Matt Gidley produced a great chase and tap tackled Toopi just shy of the line. Leeds moved the ball right but Ryan Hall was unable to take the pass with the line at his mercy.

The see-saw nature of the game continued and this time video ref Ian Smith was called upon to make the decision. Willie Talau appeared to have scored but the replay showed he had lost control under pressure so the sides were still seperated by the Sinfield penalty.

Saints missed another chance after 23 minutes when Gidley's final pass to Gardner was forward 15 metres from the Leeds line.

However, the home side did opening the scoring on their next visit to the Leeds line. Kylie Leuluai was penalised for a high tackle on Fa'asvalu and Saints elected to kick to touch from 40 metres out. Two tackles later, Roby spotted a gap and darted over from dummy half. Ste Tyrer kicked the conversion to make it 6-2 to Saints after 27 minutes.

The Rhinos responded in style and hit back with seven minutes remaining in the half. Good work by Toopi got Leeds going and then a great bust by Ali Lauitiiti had Saints on the back foot. Gardner knocked on attempting an intercept to give Leeds a repeat set ten metres out. From the scrum, Sinfield picked up before drawing the man and passing to Danny McGuire. McGuire stepped backwards to avoid the charge of Leon Pryce before diving over between the posts. Sinfield's conversion giving Leeds a 8-6 lead.

Senior produced a blunder from the re-start as he tried to control the ball with his foot and Saints were given an immediate chance to hit back. However, the Rhinos defence held firm.

However, the Rhinos were to be cruelly denied the lead at the interval when referee Richard Silverwood and his touch judge combined to miss a knock on by Roby, instead wiping the tackle count clear. Two tackles later St Helens moved the ball wide and Ste Tyrer dived in at the corner. He was unable to convert his own try so Saints led 10-8 at half time.

The second half action continued in the same vein as the first with both teams involved in a real arm wrestle for control of the game. And it was the Rhinos who hit first. Having gained possession in their own half by a knock on following a last ditch tackle by Jamie Jones-Buchanan, they moved up field with purpose before Lauitiiti offloaded to Burrow. The scrum half danced his way through the defence before racing passed Wellens to score. Sinfield added the extras to make it 14-10 after 48 minutes.

Having hit the front early on in the half the Rhinos had to withstand an incredible amount of pressure on their own line. Rob Burrow was tackling like a man four times his size whilst Ryan Hall, Brent Webb and Scott Donald were looking calm and composed. Even when errors occurred the Leeds players stuck together and bailed each other out in a brilliant show of team work.

Leeds needed to get out of their own half and it was their captain that gave his team the lift they needed with a brilliant 40:20 kick with six minutes remaining. The Rhinos attacked the Saints line from the scrum before spreading the ball wide and Keith Senior released Ryan Hall to score his first try for the club. Sinfield's conversion was wide but Leeds led by two scores at 18-10.

St Helens attempted a short kick off to try and get back in the game but a brilliant take in midair by Tansey regained possession. And it was the same man who sealed the win for Leeds two minutes later when he latched onto a loose pass by former Rhino Nick Fozzard and raced through to score from 40 metres out. Sinfield's conversion hit the post and bounced away but the Rhinos had secured a famous 22-10 victory.

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