Betfred Super League
Sat 16th Sep 2023 KO: 18:00 RD: 26
OFFICIAL: Benjamin THALER
T. Davies x2
T. Johnstone x2
A. Keighran x3
A. Keighran x9
A disappointing evening in the South of France saw Leeds Rhinos lose out 61-0 to Catalans Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus as their chance of making the top six faded.
The only change for the Rhinos from their Round 25 defeat to Wigan was Derrell Olpherts’ return to the side as he came in for the suspended Sam Walters. Morgan Gannon moved into the second row to fill for Walters in the forwards, whilst Rhyse Martin switched back to join Jack Sinfield in the halves and Olpherts partnered Ash Handley on the left edge.
Early errors from Michael McIlorum and Derrell Olpherts implied a shaky start for both teams in the heat but the Dragons hit the front after two minutes. Adam Keighran opened up the space on the edge to set up a break for his winger partner Tom Johnstone, who returned the favour back inside for Keighran to cross in the corner.
Mike McMeeken came close to grabbing a second for the Dragons, but strong defence on the goal line from the Leeds defence kept the prop held up. Catalans bided their time though and added to their score with two more tries before the 20 minute mark. McIlorum sent captain Ben Garcia over from short range and then following a half break from the Dragons hooker, Sam Tomkins skirted across the Leeds line and fired a wide pass for Davies to catch and score. Keighran converted all three tries to make the score 18-0.
More pressure from the Dragons on the Leeds line threatened more points for the home side, but strong defence from James McDonnell in particular saw the forward stop Julian Bousquet and Matt Whitley. The Rhinos couldn’t stop Johnstone though as the winger was put over by Tyone May, after Catalans benefited from a poor kick on the last tackle from Cameron Smith.
The Rhinos got their best spell of pressure as the game approached the final ten minutes. After a short restart following the Johnstone try, consecutive penalties got the visitors closer to the try line to set up Jack Sinfield, who looked to get a hand on his own kick into the in goal area. The decision was handed up to the video referee, who kept Leeds waiting for points as he judged that Tomkins had grounded the ball before Sinfield.
Down at the other end of the field, Davies added a second try of the game from another wide move to extend the Dragons’ lead to 28 points; Keighran’s fourth conversion of the game closed off the first half scoring.
The Dragons continued their points scoring in the second half as a run by May saw the half back set up his partner Pearce for a try under the posts within four minutes of the restart..
Johnstone’s second before the 50-minute mark took the Dragons to 40 points before Keighran extended his personal points tally for the night with his second try off the back of a short kick through from May.
Injury to Leon Ruan forced Leeds down to three substitutes as the Dragons pushed the score line beyond 50 points; Matt Ikuvalu crossed with 14 minutes left. In the dying moments, Tomkins added a drop goal, whilst Harry Newman was sent to the sin bin for holding down the Catalans full back after he made a late break. Keighran’s hat trick try sealed the win for the French side though, and Tomkins added a penalty goal to close out the result as Lisone was sin binned for illegally taking out Pearce.
29. Sam Tomkins, 2. Tom Davies, 21. Matt Ikuvalu, 3. Adam Keighran, 24. Tom Johnstone, 6. Tyrone May, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. Mike McMeeken, 9. Michael McIlorum, 16. Romain Navarette, 11. Matt Whitley, 12. Paul Seguier, 13. Ben Garcia
Subs: 10. Julian Bousquet, 14. Alrix Da Costa, 18. Tiaki Chan, 26. Manu Ma’u (18th Man – 19. Arthur Romano)
Tries: Keighran (2, 53, 77), Garcia (11), Davies (17, 37), Johnstone (27, 47), Pearce (44), Ikuvalu (65)
Goals: Keighran 9/10, Tomkins 1/1
Drop goal: Tomkins (72)
21. Luke Hooley, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Harry Newman, 5. Ash Handley, 16. Derrell Olpherts, 12. Rhyse Martin, 29. Jack Sinfield, 8. Mikolaj Oledzki, 14. Jarrod O’Connor, 18. Tom Holroyd, 19. James McDonnell, 20. Morgan Gannon, 13. Cameron Smith
Subs: 15. Sam Lisone, 26. Corey Johnson, 31. Leon Ruan, 25. James Donaldson (18th Man – 34. Alfie Edgell)
Sin bin: Newman (75), Lisone (79)