On this Day – 3rd May

On this day in 1947 Leeds played Bradford Northern in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

ON THIS DAY in 1947 Leeds played Bradford Northern in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley. To get to this all Yorkshire final Leeds had beaten Barrow, Hunslet, Wigan and Wakefield and had become the first team in the history of rugby league to reach the Cup Final without conceding a single point.

After this amazing feat though the team were unable to go that step further and actually clinch the trophy, with Bradford Northern emerging as the worthy winners. Bert Cook who had kicked a miraculous goal against Wigan in the 3rd Round was the Loiners only scorer in this game, kicking 2 goals, but Leeds conceded their only points of the competition allowing Bradford to score two tries and a goal to bring the final score to 8-4.

ON THIS DAY in 2008, Leeds play Bradford again at the Millennium Magic weekend. Leeds produced a commanding second half performance to secure a 40-26 win in Cardiff. The Rhinos trailed 10-6 at the break but they ran riot in the first 20 minutes of the second half to seal a big win over their West Yorkshire rivals. The game saw French international Eric Anselme make his debut for the Rhinos and marked the occasion with a try.

ON THIS DAY in 2019, the Rhinos travelled across the Pennines to face Salford Red Devils. The game marked the debut for new signing Ava Seumanufagai, who had joined the Rhinos from Cronulla Sharks in the NRL.

Leeds Rhinos suffered a 28-16 defeat to Ian Watson’s side at the AJ Bell Stadium and only had tries from Mikolaj Oledzki, Harry Newman and Ash Handley as consolation. The game would prove to be David Furner’s last in charge of the club as Head Coach.

ON THIS DAY in 1981 former Rhinos loose forward Gareth Ellis was born in Castleford.

Leeds Rhinos pulled off a major coup in the Christmas of 2005, when Gary Hetherington delivered the perfect present for the Champions by capturing Ellis from Wakefield from under the noses of rivals Bradford Bulls.

Having played over 100 games for Trinity, the front rower came into a Leeds side that already had a strong back row in Ali Lauitiiti, Chris McKenna and Kevin Sinfield. Ellis debuted for Leeds in the 2005 World Club win over Canterbury, which set in motion a remarkable spell at the club.

On his home debut against St Helens, he earned the fans faith, putting in a man of the match performance. He featured in all three of Leeds’ finals that year, missing three games and scoring ten tries.

A year later, he was awarded Player of the Season, scoring eight tries as Leeds finished third. In 2007 and 2008, despite a change in coaching, he played in both of Leeds’ Grand Final wins, claiming his first professional honours.

There had been speculation of a move to the NRL for the back rower and in 2009, that came true; Ellis signing for Wests Tigers. In all, he made 123 appearances in Leeds colours, scoring 110 tries.

Internationally, he made 17 Great Britain appearances from 2003 to 2007, beating New Zealand in the Lions’ final series, prior to it’s reformation in 2019. He also picked up 16 England caps from 2008 to 2012, scoring two tries.