Rhinos look to end losing run at Vikings
Danny McGuire started his first game for the Rhinos at Widnes in 2002.
Leeds Rhinos travel to Widnes Vikings this Sunday looking to end a three game losing run at The Halton Stadium and maintain the Champions 100% start to the Betfred Super League season.
Sunday’s game will be the 21st meeting between the sides in the Super League era going back to the first meeting in 2002 when Neil Kelly’s newly promoted side did a league double over Daryl Powell’s team with now Rhinos assistant coach Barry Eaton helping the Vikings to a 34-28 win at the Halton Stadium.
Widnes, who had won 14-10 at Headingley the previous April, looked to have the points in the bag at half-time when they romped into a 30-6 interval lead.
But the Rhinos hit back with four tries in the second half to cut the gap to 34-28, skipper Francis Cummins having a late try disallowed by the video referee after being pushed into touch by Jason Demetriou.
But Cummins was also at the centre of controversy in the 54th minute when his forward pass to Ben Walker went unseen by referee Ian Smith despite Widnes protests.
The try was allowed to stand but fortunately for Widnes it did not affect the final outcome. Former Rhino Adam Hughes was man of the match for Widnes, romping over for four tries. His first touchdown came after seven minutes following slick handling by Craig Weston and Steve McCurrie.
Then Barry Eaton’s kick eluded Walker in the sun with Hughes bagging his second try, converted by Eaton.
Widnes made it 16-0 midway through the first half with a Chris Percival touchdown before Danny McGuire celebrated his full debut for the Rhinos with a scorching 65-metre touchdown. But further tries from Phil Cantillon and Hughes, with three Eaton goals, made it 30-6 at the interval.
Leeds cut the gap to 30-16 with tries from the impressive Keith Senior and Ben Walker’s controversial effort. Hughes powered over for his fourth try to give Widnes breathing space at 34-16 before tries by Leeds duo Willie Poching and Cummins set up a grandstand finish. But Widnes held on for victory.
The Rhinos have won thirteen of the previous twenty meetings in Super League with five wins out of ten at Widnes.
Last year, Widnes came from 14-12 down at half-time to stun high-flying Leeds. Wingers Ryan Ince and Corey Thompson both scored twice as the Vikings ran in six tries, also crossing through full-back Rhys Hanbury and Aaron Heremaia.
Ash Handley, Kallum Watkins, Stevie Ward and Adam Cuthbertson all crossed for the visitors, while Liam Sutcliffe kicked two goals.
But they were outscored six tries to four, Chris Bridge landing only two kicks for Widnes, who were bottom of the table at the time. A second try each for Ince and Thompson eventually sealed the win.
The previous year, the annus horribilis really set in against the Vikings, the week before a World Club Challenge date with North Queensland Cowboys. The Valentines Day massacre saw the Treble winners suffer a 10-try demolition at Widnes that took the Vikings top of the league early in the season.
Worse was to come for Leeds when they lost Tom Briscoe, Carl Ablett and Ashton Golding with leg injuries as Widnes led 28-6 at the break. Corey Thompson scored one of five first-half ties and completed his hat-trick after the break.
Even in the all conquering Treble winning season in 2015, Leeds came unstuck in Cheshire as they lost out 38-28 with Chris Clarkson, who was on loan to the Vikings from the Rhinos helping the home side to victory.
Leeds began the game knowing a win would take them four points clear at the top of the table. But Clarkson went over for one of seven Widnes tries as the hosts moved within a point of a place in the top eight.
Kallum Watkins’ brace of tries for Leeds proved in vain as Widnes raced clear in the closing minutes. The Rhinos were within four points with eight minutes remaining but Chris Dean and Aaron Heremaia completed a hard-fought home victory with late tries. The win ended a seven game losing run for the Vikings against Leeds since they returned to Super League in 2012.
You have to go back to 2014 for the Rhinos last win at the Halton Stadium when a clinical second-half display saw the visitors come from behind to beat Widnes.
Danny McGuire scored once in each half and captain Kevin Sinfield added 14 points to help Rhinos climb into second place.
The Vikings had come from 10 points down to lead 16-10 at half-time thanks to three quick tries from Chris Dean, Rhys Hanbury and Patrick Ah Van. But five second-half Rhinos tries gave them an ultimately comfortable win.
Tickets and travel on sale now
Tickets and travel are now on sale for the Leeds Rhinos away match against Widnes Vikings at The Halton Stadium. Widnes Viking are offering Leeds Rhinos 2018 Season and Supporter Members a discount on their own ticket by booking via Leeds Rhinos. The discount is only available to season and supporter members and excludes junior season members who receive free entry upon exchanging their voucher. The tickets are for unreserved seating in the West Stand, behind the posts at one end of the ground.
For Leeds Rhinos 2018 Season and Supporter members, tickets are priced at £19 for Adults, £14 for Senior Citizens (over 65), Young Adults (17-23) and serving military (upon production of ID). General match ticket prices are £22 for Adults, £15 Senior Citizens (over 65), Young Adults (17-23) and serving military (upon production of ID) and Juniors (under 16) are priced at £12. Junior Season Members are advised by Widnes to exchange their away voucher before the day of the game, this can be done by producing the voucher from their away voucher booklet at the Leeds Rugby Retail Store during the week or the Leeds Rugby Ticket Office (Rhinos match day only).
Disabled tickets are priced at £19 for Adults, £14 for Senior Citizens (over 65), Young Adults (17-23) and serving military (upon production of ID) for Leeds Rhinos 2018 Season and Supporter members and Junior season members are free when their voucher is exchanged. Disabled ticket prices for non-members are £22, £15 and £12 depending on age. Helper tickets are also available if required and upon production of valid ID. If disabled supporters require car parking, there is a number of spaces available on the day of the game behind the East Stand which can be booked in advance via Widnes Ticket Office.
- All tickets prices increase on match day to £24, £17 and £12 depending on age.
- Junior Season Ticket holders MUST exchange their away voucher before the day of the game. Widnes will not be accepting or exchanging the vouchers on the day therefore juniors will need to pay.
- Widnes have a no reprint or replace policy, so any tickets that lost in post will not be replaced. We strongly recommend that you collect tickets from Headingley by 5pm on Saturday 24th February. Alternatively, tickets can also be purchased from ourselves and then taken to Widnes to be collected on the day of the game.
Official Coach Travel for this match is priced at £16. Don’t forget that if you are a 2018 season member you can travel to this match for free! You must exchange the voucher you received with your season membership card at the Leeds Rugby Retail Store or Ticket Office (Rhinos home match day only) – terms and conditions apply.
For this match, we are offering 2 departure points, one of which is in association with the Leeds Rhinos Ambassador Scheme. The coaches will be departing from Emerald Headingley Stadium and Station Hotel, Crossgates both at 12 noon.
Please ensure that when you speak to a member of staff when booking travel, you notify them as to where you wish to depart from. This is a trial pick up point and if numbers are low departing from Crossgates then they will be brought back to depart from Emerald Headingley Stadium – we will notify fans if this is the case.
Match tickets will be available until 3pm, on Saturday 24th February from the Leeds Rugby Retail Store. To book either or both tickets and travel, please call the Ticket Office Hotline on 0371 423 13 15, come down to the Leeds Rugby Retail Store at Emerald Headingley Stadium or book online at www.therhinos.co.uk