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Leeds Rhinos

2017 Super League Champions

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Wigan Warriors 26 Leeds Rhinos 27

12th September 2010

By Leeds Rhinos

Leeds and Wigan produced a contest that would have graced any Grand Final wiht an incredible 27-26 win for the Rhinos sealed in the final second.

The Rhinos trailed 14-0 after as many minutes in the first half but they fought back to level the game at the break. The lead see-sawed in the second half before Kevin Sinfield kicked a late drop goal. However, there was late drama as Pat Richards had a penalty 43 metres out from the touchline to win the game with the final kick. His effort dropped short and the Rhinos earned themselves a home eliminator for a shot at Old Trafford.

WP – Home MPU

Brian McClennan sprung a surprise  before kick off by naming Chris Clarkson in his squad after the youngster passed a late fitness test.

Keith Senior reverted to the centre after playing in the pack at Hull the previous week and it was Lee Smith who missed out against the League Leaders.

The two sides were met by a tremendous atmosphere with near perfect conditions for the final game of the first weekend of the play offs. It was the home side who made the perfect start with a try after just three minutes. Ryan Bailey lost possession thirty metres from his own line and, despite claims that it had been stolen, referee Thierry Alibert waved play on. Wigan sensed their chance and a cross field kick by Paul Deacon was brilliantly knocked back into play by Martin Gleeson, who jumped over the dead ball line, and Sam Tomkins was on hand to touch it down.

Kevin Sinfield put the restart out on the full and two tacklers later Tomkins doubled the lead as he stepped through three attempted tackles by the Rhinos. Richards converted both tries to make it 12-0 after just six minutes.

Pat Richards then increased the lead when Danny Budurus was penalised for interference at the play the ball. Leeds then faced a goal line drop out soon afterwards and they faced a crucial turning point. It was then that the Rhinos fans behind the posts found their voice and visibly lifted their players. Having defended the ensuing set, the Champions set about cutting the lead.

Greg Eastwood, with virtually his first touch, set up the opening try when he charged at the heart of the Wigan defence before offloading to Buderus, who stepped his way through to score after 23 minutes.

The Rhinos now had their tails up and they got their second try four minutes later. McGuire and Buderus both went close before the ball was spread wide and Ryan Hall cut back inside from his wing to score his 31st try of the season. Sinfield converted both tries to make it 14-12.

Buderus was then placed on report for taking a playing through the horizontal in the tackle however Wigan could not take advantage.

With the final play of the half, Wigan had a man placed on report but Joel Tomkins was lucky to remain on the field. He was clearly seen to twice kick out at McGuire as he tried to play the ball. Referee Alibert called him in for a chat but took no further action. Sinfield stepped up to level the score with the final play of the half and set up an incredible second half.

Unsurprisingly the second half continued where the first had finished with both sides looking to strike the decisive blow. The Rhinos took the lead for the first time in the game five minutes in when Sinfield offloaded to Webb on half way and the full back raced clear. He fed McGuire 15 metres out and there was no stopping the stand off. Sinfield added the conversion to make it 20-14.

Sinfield was then penalised in the tackle and the Leeds captain was visibly aggrieved at Alibert's decision. Wigan had been employing the tactic of holding the tacklers arm to milk the penalty and Sinfield clearly felt that the referee was falling for the tactic. As it was, play continue and Wigan soon got the equaliser. Despite a lengthy look from video referee Phil Bentham at a possible obstruction the try was awarded to Liam Farrell and Richards duly added the conversion to level the score.

The game was a brutal affair with teams having players treated for cuts from several bit hits. The Rhinos struck the next decisive blow when they moved the ball quickly along the backline giving Scott Donald the smallest of gaps in the corner but the winger, who will retire at the end of the season, tucked up the ball and powered his way over. Sinfield added an ugly but crucial touchline conversion to make it 26-20 after 65 minutes.

However, the Rhinos were their own worst enemy when they lost the ball on the first tackle from the re-start with Ryan Hall unable to take the pass behind him. Leeds did well to regroup to stop George Carmont going over for the try however it was only a question of time before the sheer weight of pressure told and Richards crossed in the corner two tackles later in the corner. Richards was unable to add the conversion to leave the game on a knive edge.

With eight minutes to go Richards had a penalty chance but pushed it wide much to the amazement of the Wigan faithful. However, he got the chance to redeem himself a minute later when Sinfield was penalised for going around the head of Fielden in the tackle. This time the Irish international made no mistake and levelled the score.

There was always going to be more drama and it came from the re-start. Thomas Leuluai could not prevent the ball hitting his legs and going out of play to give Leeds possession 20 metres from the Wigan line. The Rhinos calmly moved the ball further downfield before Sinfield knocked over the drop goal to give his side the lead once more.

Wigan tried to drill the kick off into touch but a brilliant diving save kept the ball in play and Rhinos managed to come away from the line.

There was still time for late drama. Leeds forced a repeat set on Wigan to wind down the clock but with the last play of the game Wigan attacked from deep. McGuire was injured trying to chase back only to see Donald penalised for taking Richards out as he kicked ahead. After lengthy consultation with both touch judges and several adjustments to his ear piece, referee Alibert awarded a penalty to Wigan 43 metres out on the touchline. Richards had a kick to win it but his attempt dropped short and the Champions won an incredible game.

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