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Catalans Dragons U19 37 Leeds Rhinos U19 30

The Rhinos Under 19s made the longest trip of the year to kick off their season as the first opponent for the new Catalans Dragons U19 side, who enter the competition for 2016.

The seventeen man squad included eight players in their first season in the Under 19s squad having emerged from the scholarship last season with five players in their second year and four players in their third and final year in the academy. 

The squad included prop Sam Hallas having been named in the 19 man squad for the Super League clash for the first time in the build up to the game.

The Rhinos soon found themselves behind inside the first two minutes. Having gained territory deep in the Rhinos half from a 40:20 kick on their first possession, Catalans eventually crossed through centre Paul Izard. Lucas Albert added the conversion to give the home side the perfect start. 

Leeds gained a foothold in the game after that and had a number of half chances to hit back. One came from a sensational break by Cameron Smith in midfield as he stepped through the defence and broke clear only for play to then break down.

The Rhinos finally hit back when scrum half Jack Wray dummied in midfield before bursting through a gap to score between the posts from thirty metres out. Joe Sanderson added the conversion to make it 6-6 at half time. 

The visitors then took the lead at the start of the second half when loose forward Cameron Smith ran at the line with purpose before bursting through to race clear and round the full back to score. Sanderson was on target again to give his side a 12-6 lead. 

However the momentum of the game swung back to the home side including two long range tries. Albert finished off the first after picking up a loose Rhinos pass ten metres near his own line and racing the length to score before a carbon copy effort by winger Jordan Flovie. Those scores came either side of an effort from second row Alexandre Mickalezyk which had a large slice of good fortune in the build up. Catalans appeared to knock on through Tovena before Albert's kick to the post pad rebounded into the path of an onrushing attacking who sliced his kick straight into the arms of the try scorer. Catalans now led 24-12 with 23 minutes to go and look in control. 

The Rhinos then responded with a try from winger Ryan Jones as he finished off out wide and Leeds were then gifted a try when full back Pierre Bise lost possession on his own line and Alex Sutcliffe was on the spot to pick up and touch the ball down. Sanderson converted both tries and with 13 minutes to go only a Albert penalty separated the sides. The stand off then added a drop goal four minutes later. 

Crucially it was the Dragons who struck next as Franck Maria supported the break by Flovie to score. Leeds once again came up with a response with centre Nathan Waring and his winger Jones working well in tandem for Jones to race through and touch down Waring's grubber kick in the corner. Sanderson added an excellent conversion to make it 33-30 with 15 seconds remaining on the stadium clock. 

Leeds tried to find a winning score but their fate seemed sealed when the Dragons player was tackled in possession after the hooter. The referee however waved play on, catching the Rhinos wrong footed and Albert got over for a late score that gave the scoreline and inflated look in the end. 

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Catalans Dragons U19 37 Leeds Rhinos U19 30

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Catalans Dragons U19 37 Leeds Rhinos U19 30

The Rhinos Under 19s made the longest trip of the year to kick off their season as the first opponent for the new Catalans Dragons U19 side, who enter the competition for 2016.

The seventeen man squad included eight players in their first season in the Under 19s squad having emerged from the scholarship last season with five players in their second year and four players in their third and final year in the academy. 

The squad included prop Sam Hallas having been named in the 19 man squad for the Super League clash for the first time in the build up to the game.

The Rhinos soon found themselves behind inside the first two minutes. Having gained territory deep in the Rhinos half from a 40:20 kick on their first possession, Catalans eventually crossed through centre Paul Izard. Lucas Albert added the conversion to give the home side the perfect start. 

Leeds gained a foothold in the game after that and had a number of half chances to hit back. One came from a sensational break by Cameron Smith in midfield as he stepped through the defence and broke clear only for play to then break down.

The Rhinos finally hit back when scrum half Jack Wray dummied in midfield before bursting through a gap to score between the posts from thirty metres out. Joe Sanderson added the conversion to make it 6-6 at half time. 

The visitors then took the lead at the start of the second half when loose forward Cameron Smith ran at the line with purpose before bursting through to race clear and round the full back to score. Sanderson was on target again to give his side a 12-6 lead. 

However the momentum of the game swung back to the home side including two long range tries. Albert finished off the first after picking up a loose Rhinos pass ten metres near his own line and racing the length to score before a carbon copy effort by winger Jordan Flovie. Those scores came either side of an effort from second row Alexandre Mickalezyk which had a large slice of good fortune in the build up. Catalans appeared to knock on through Tovena before Albert's kick to the post pad rebounded into the path of an onrushing attacking who sliced his kick straight into the arms of the try scorer. Catalans now led 24-12 with 23 minutes to go and look in control. 

The Rhinos then responded with a try from winger Ryan Jones as he finished off out wide and Leeds were then gifted a try when full back Pierre Bise lost possession on his own line and Alex Sutcliffe was on the spot to pick up and touch the ball down. Sanderson converted both tries and with 13 minutes to go only a Albert penalty separated the sides. The stand off then added a drop goal four minutes later. 

Crucially it was the Dragons who struck next as Franck Maria supported the break by Flovie to score. Leeds once again came up with a response with centre Nathan Waring and his winger Jones working well in tandem for Jones to race through and touch down Waring's grubber kick in the corner. Sanderson added an excellent conversion to make it 33-30 with 15 seconds remaining on the stadium clock. 

Leeds tried to find a winning score but their fate seemed sealed when the Dragons player was tackled in possession after the hooter. The referee however waved play on, catching the Rhinos wrong footed and Albert got over for a late score that gave the scoreline and inflated look in the end.