WILLIAMS HAT TRICK SEALS RHINOS WIN

Leeds Rhinos were grateful to a Danny Williams hat trick to steer them home to 42-20 victory over Featherstone Rovers.

Leeds Rhinos were grateful to a Danny Williams hat trick to steer them home to 42-20 victory over Featherstone Rovers. Playing uphill in the first half, Rovers exploited an error-ridden Leeds opening to build an 8-0 lead after just seven minutes. Rhinos played some sparkling attacking rugby to go in 26-8 ahead at half-time, but Featherstone dominated the third quarter and cut the gap to 10 points before Leeds regained control. It finished eight tries to five, but while Ashley Gibson booted five conversions for the visitors, Loz Wildbore, Joe McLocklan (two misses each) and James Houston (one) couldn’t manage a goal between them for the hosts. Rovers hooker Kevin Eadie provided the moment of the match, eight minutes into the second-half with an outrageous dummy from acting-half which took him over for a brilliant solo try from 30 metres out. Leeds’ substitute prop Luke Burgess produced another strong game and has probably been the most impressive player of pre-season so far. Nick Scruton and Ryan Bailey also showed their class in the front-row, Jamie Thackray was enthusiastic and Jordan Tansey displayed moments of quality. Gibson played the full 80 in the second game of his comeback from a knee reconstruction and Danny Williams finished strongly for a hat-trick of tries, though overall it was a patchy display by Leeds who made some unforced errors with the ball and conceded easy yards at times on defence. Leeds’ best try was scored by winger Ryan Hall late in the first half following a wonderful exchange of passes with full-back Ben Jones-Bishop – who had fielded a bomb near his own line – down the Featherstone slope. Earlier, Hall had allowed McLocklan’s first minute 40-20 to bounce into touch and Eadie, McLocklan, Tony Tonks, Hughes and Scott Wilson handled before Scott Hutton dived over at the corner following the scrum. Wayne McHugh touched down McLocklan’s kick before Wildbore dropped the ball at a scrum base near the Leeds line and Thackray picked up to scamper in for a simple score. In the set from the re-start, Scruton, Luke Gale, Tansey, Thackray and Gibson surged downhill before Williams stepped inside for his first touchdown. He added a second from Jones-Bishop’s pass before Tansey sent Burgess blasting over and Hall’s spectacular try completed the first-half scoring.