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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Wigan Warriors 12 Leeds Rhinos 13

28th September 2012

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos produced one of their greatest ever performances to book a return to Old Trafford with an incredible 13-12 win over Wigan.

Much of the build up to the game had been dominated by the suspension of Leeds star Danny McGuire but the pre-match talk was all focused on Sam Tomkins, the Man of Steel elect, who was absent from the Wigan team sheet after he failed a late fitness test.

WP – Home MPU

The opening exchanges were as tight as could be expected with both teams anxious to seize the psychological initiative.

Wigan had the early chances after a couple of penalties inside their own half but they could not make the most of it and a forced pass from Brent Finch bounced off the ground into the arms of Kallum Watkins, who raced 90 metres to score untouched between the posts. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 6-0 at 14 minutes.

As expected Wigan responded to that early set back but they were matched at every turn by some tremendous defence by the Rhinos with Ryan Bailey leading the charge.

Leeds had a great chance to cross for the their second try following a good break by Zak Hardaker but brilliant last line defence denied Rob Burrow on the tryline before pressure from the home side forced the visitors into passing into touch on the last tackle.

The Champions did extend their lead after 22 minutes when Sinfield opted to kick for goal from 35 metres out near the touchline following a penalty for knees in at the tackle. The captain was on target to make it 8-0.

There was a fascinating personal battle between Ryan Hall and Josh Charnley down the wing, which boded well for the future of both clubs and English Rugby League, with Charnley dealing well with the Sinfield cross field kick but Hall more than a match with his defence, including driving the Wigan man back in goal at one stage for a repeat set.
Sinfield, who had been in superb form kicking from hand, then produced a sublime 40:20 kick to get the Rhinos back down field. Two tackles later Finch was caught offside on his own line and the captain opted for goal again and made it 10-0.

The Rhinos were comfortable on the ball but Wigan were still asking plenty of questions and it took a timely tackle from Ian Kirke to snuff out a chance for Matthew Russell. Finch kicked on the last tackle and Hall defused the bomb well.

Sinfield edged the Rhinos further in front on their next visit to the Wigan line when he knocked over a drop goal on the last tackle to put his side 11-0 lead.

Wigan were looking disjointed on attack at times without their talismanic young star, so much so that Gareth Hock ended up kicking on the last tackle in one set which Hardaker fielded and ran back with interest.

The Rhinos knew to expect a backlash from the League Leaders in the second half and with such a narrow lead were prepared for the biggest 40 minutes of the season.

A break by O'Loughlin created the position for a bloodied Thomas Leuluai to put second rower Harrison Hansen through a gap for a try within two minutes of the re-start and Pat Richards' goal cut the deficit to five points.

Leeds thought they had scored again only to have Burrow's try disallowed by video referee Ian Smith, who ruled the half-back lost control of the ball in Murphy's last-ditch tackle.

The momentum then shifted towards Wigan, as handling errrors by Ryan Hall and Shaun Lunt inside their own 20-metre area put Leeds under pressure and, after Lee Mossop had been held up over the line, Finch created space for Richards to go over at the corner for a second try.

The former Man of Steel added the touchline conversion to edge his side into a one-point lead and it looked good enough until another Burrow darting run caught Wigan offside to present Sinfield with a simple penalty from in front of the posts.

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