• St Helens
  • 26 - 18

  • Leeds Rhinos
  • St Helens
  • HT 8 - 6
  • Leeds Rhinos
10th April 2021 | KO 14:30 | Totally Wicked Stadium | Betfred Challenge Cup

St Helens 26 Leeds Rhinos 18

RLCUP. Saints V Rhinos. Sat10thApr2021.© MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY

A late fightback from Leeds Rhinos wasn’t enough as the Betfred Challenge Cup holders were knocked out by St Helens in the third round; Mikolaj Oledzki and Brad Dwyer scoring the tries in the 26-18 defeat at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Only nine players who featured in Leeds’ Cup Final win last year were named in Richard Agar’s side for this match as injuries continued to mount for the Rhinos. Eight players were already ruled out coming into the tie through injury and it was announced prior to kick off that the Rhinos would also be without captain Luke Gale (thumb), Bodene Thompson (rib) and Liam Sutcliffe (knee) after they suffered injuries against Castleford last week, prompting Agar to move Cameron Smith and Rhyse Martin into the halves and Alex Mellor to centre. Young forwards Sam Walters and Jarrod O’Connor made their first appearances of the season after impressing in 2020 while new signing King Vuniyayawa and 17-year-old Morgan Gannon, who is a product of the club’s academy system, were handed their club debuts.

An intense first half made for engaging viewing as a forceful Rhinos side hit St Helens hard in defence and forced errors out of Kristian Woolf’s men. Leeds looked to pin the home side back early through Kruise Leeming’s kick over the top on the fourth tackle but after the ball went over the dead ball line, and with a seven tackle set, Saints took their advantage to score the first try of the game. Pushing their way downfield, spine players Sione Mata’utia, Theo Fages and Jonny Lomax combined to move the ball out wide for Kevin Naiqama, who sucked in Luke Briscoe from the sideline. Knowing there would be space on the edge, the Fijian captain released his wing partner Tommy Makinson, who powered over Jack Broadbent to ground the ball and give the ‘Red V’ the early lead.

Despite the early set back, the Rhinos got themselves back in the tie minutes later; Mikolaj Oledzki crashing his way over for his first try of season. After putting pressure on Saints during their next attacking set, the Rhinos defended their line and won a penalty as they brought the ball away from their own line. Finding themselves within striking range of the St Helens try line on the fifth tackle, instead of kicking the ball, Leeming burst out of dummy half and passed for Oledzki to barrel his way over. Martin added the conversion to lock the scores up.

On 25 minutes, the Rhinos had a great opportunity to score again. Leeds continued with the same strategy of sending forwards at the line at pace and after forcing an error from Saints, on the last tackle Leeming and Broadbent tried to exploit space on the edge but the final pass was over the heads of Sutcliffe and Tom Briscoe. Having suffered with the relentless Rhinos for over 20 minutes, and with Mata’utia and Lees already ruled out during the first half, St Helens took their chance to add more points to the scoreboard after a high tackle on James Bentley; Makinson converting to give the home side a 8-6 advantage.

As the half came to a close, Leeds continued to halt Saints in attack; Broadbent picking off an offload from Walmsley close to the Rhinos try line before Vuniyayawa came off the bench and forced a knock on. From that error, Tetevano put in a neat grubber kick into the in goal area but it was just too heavy for the onrushing Sutcliffe to latch on to. Vuniyayawa was then forced from the field with five minutes to go before the break after the substitute tried to tackle Agnatius Paasi, sending Leeds down to 16 players. In the final minutes, St Helens had one last chance to add to their score but Luke Briscoe diffused Lomax’s kick into the in goal area, sending the sides into half time with only two points separating them.

 

Leeds’ job was made harder at the start of the second half as Tetevano was sent off by referee Ben Thaler for a high and late tackle on Theo Fages. After Makinson had successfully converted the penalty goal, two tries from Regan Grace looked to have put Saints in the draw for the quarter finals. Leeds conceded another penalty for a high tackle following Makinson’s penalty goal and with the extra man on the field, Grace took an offload from Jack Welsby to finish off a sweeping move in the corner.

12 minutes later, after Roby was denied by the video referee Liam Moore, another structured move exposed a gap out wide for Grace to walk in and score. Makinson converted the latter to put Saints ahead by 14 points.

But Brad Dwyer had other ideas; the hooker crashing over twice in seven minutes to bring Leeds to within two points. After stopping Saints from adding another try off the back of a break by Paasi, Oledzki made a break of his own to set Leeds up in St Helens’ half and under the posts, Brad Dwyer squirmed out to grab a try back for the Rhinos.

Penalties from St Helens helped Dwyer get his second as Woolf’s side were penalised twice to set the Rhinos up within scoring range. Back in front of the posts again, Saints tracked the movement of Prior and forgot about Dwyer, who once again went out of dummy half and beat Coote and Lomax to go over the try line. The decision was sent up to the video referee Moore, who gave the try. Martin kept his 100% record with the boot, converting both tries to bring the score within two.

It wasn’t to be though for the Rhinos as Makinson got his second try of the afternoon to put St Helens into the fourth round draw. A break by Grace through the Leeds defence looked like the Welsh international would get his third try of the game but a great tackle from Broadbent and Dwyer dragged the winger down. Shifting the ball to the right side of the field, despite Luke Briscoe and Alex Mellor’s best efforts, Naiqama got the ball away for Makinson to dive over in the corner. The winger converted his own try with the last kick of the game, taking his points tally for the game to 18 and sending the Cup holders home with a 26-18 result.

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St Helens 26 Leeds Rhinos 18

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St Helens 26 Leeds Rhinos 18

RLCUP. Saints V Rhinos. Sat10thApr2021.© MATTHEW MERRICK PHOTOGRAPHY

A late fightback from Leeds Rhinos wasn’t enough as the Betfred Challenge Cup holders were knocked out by St Helens in the third round; Mikolaj Oledzki and Brad Dwyer scoring the tries in the 26-18 defeat at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Only nine players who featured in Leeds’ Cup Final win last year were named in Richard Agar’s side for this match as injuries continued to mount for the Rhinos. Eight players were already ruled out coming into the tie through injury and it was announced prior to kick off that the Rhinos would also be without captain Luke Gale (thumb), Bodene Thompson (rib) and Liam Sutcliffe (knee) after they suffered injuries against Castleford last week, prompting Agar to move Cameron Smith and Rhyse Martin into the halves and Alex Mellor to centre. Young forwards Sam Walters and Jarrod O’Connor made their first appearances of the season after impressing in 2020 while new signing King Vuniyayawa and 17-year-old Morgan Gannon, who is a product of the club’s academy system, were handed their club debuts.

An intense first half made for engaging viewing as a forceful Rhinos side hit St Helens hard in defence and forced errors out of Kristian Woolf’s men. Leeds looked to pin the home side back early through Kruise Leeming’s kick over the top on the fourth tackle but after the ball went over the dead ball line, and with a seven tackle set, Saints took their advantage to score the first try of the game. Pushing their way downfield, spine players Sione Mata’utia, Theo Fages and Jonny Lomax combined to move the ball out wide for Kevin Naiqama, who sucked in Luke Briscoe from the sideline. Knowing there would be space on the edge, the Fijian captain released his wing partner Tommy Makinson, who powered over Jack Broadbent to ground the ball and give the ‘Red V’ the early lead.

Despite the early set back, the Rhinos got themselves back in the tie minutes later; Mikolaj Oledzki crashing his way over for his first try of season. After putting pressure on Saints during their next attacking set, the Rhinos defended their line and won a penalty as they brought the ball away from their own line. Finding themselves within striking range of the St Helens try line on the fifth tackle, instead of kicking the ball, Leeming burst out of dummy half and passed for Oledzki to barrel his way over. Martin added the conversion to lock the scores up.

On 25 minutes, the Rhinos had a great opportunity to score again. Leeds continued with the same strategy of sending forwards at the line at pace and after forcing an error from Saints, on the last tackle Leeming and Broadbent tried to exploit space on the edge but the final pass was over the heads of Sutcliffe and Tom Briscoe. Having suffered with the relentless Rhinos for over 20 minutes, and with Mata’utia and Lees already ruled out during the first half, St Helens took their chance to add more points to the scoreboard after a high tackle on James Bentley; Makinson converting to give the home side a 8-6 advantage.

As the half came to a close, Leeds continued to halt Saints in attack; Broadbent picking off an offload from Walmsley close to the Rhinos try line before Vuniyayawa came off the bench and forced a knock on. From that error, Tetevano put in a neat grubber kick into the in goal area but it was just too heavy for the onrushing Sutcliffe to latch on to. Vuniyayawa was then forced from the field with five minutes to go before the break after the substitute tried to tackle Agnatius Paasi, sending Leeds down to 16 players. In the final minutes, St Helens had one last chance to add to their score but Luke Briscoe diffused Lomax’s kick into the in goal area, sending the sides into half time with only two points separating them.

 

Leeds’ job was made harder at the start of the second half as Tetevano was sent off by referee Ben Thaler for a high and late tackle on Theo Fages. After Makinson had successfully converted the penalty goal, two tries from Regan Grace looked to have put Saints in the draw for the quarter finals. Leeds conceded another penalty for a high tackle following Makinson’s penalty goal and with the extra man on the field, Grace took an offload from Jack Welsby to finish off a sweeping move in the corner.

12 minutes later, after Roby was denied by the video referee Liam Moore, another structured move exposed a gap out wide for Grace to walk in and score. Makinson converted the latter to put Saints ahead by 14 points.

But Brad Dwyer had other ideas; the hooker crashing over twice in seven minutes to bring Leeds to within two points. After stopping Saints from adding another try off the back of a break by Paasi, Oledzki made a break of his own to set Leeds up in St Helens’ half and under the posts, Brad Dwyer squirmed out to grab a try back for the Rhinos.

Penalties from St Helens helped Dwyer get his second as Woolf’s side were penalised twice to set the Rhinos up within scoring range. Back in front of the posts again, Saints tracked the movement of Prior and forgot about Dwyer, who once again went out of dummy half and beat Coote and Lomax to go over the try line. The decision was sent up to the video referee Moore, who gave the try. Martin kept his 100% record with the boot, converting both tries to bring the score within two.

It wasn’t to be though for the Rhinos as Makinson got his second try of the afternoon to put St Helens into the fourth round draw. A break by Grace through the Leeds defence looked like the Welsh international would get his third try of the game but a great tackle from Broadbent and Dwyer dragged the winger down. Shifting the ball to the right side of the field, despite Luke Briscoe and Alex Mellor’s best efforts, Naiqama got the ball away for Makinson to dive over in the corner. The winger converted his own try with the last kick of the game, taking his points tally for the game to 18 and sending the Cup holders home with a 26-18 result.

Team Performance

Goals

5

3

Tries

4

3

Player Performance

PlayerTRGLDGYCRCI+I-
Jack Broadbent0000000
Tom Briscoe0000000
Alex Mellor0000000
Alex Sutcliffe0000000
Luke Briscoe0000000
Cameron Smith0000000
Rhyse Martin0300000
Mikolaj Oledzki1000000
Kruise Leeming0000000
Matt Prior0000000
Sam Walters0000000
James Donaldson0000000
Zane Tetevano0000100
Interchanges
Brad Dwyer2000000
Jarrod O'Connor0000000
King Vuniyayawa0000000
Morgan Gannon0000000
PlayerTRGLDGYCRCI+I-
Lachlan Coote0000000
Tommy Makinson2500000
Kevin Naiqama0000000
Jack Welsby0000000
Regan Grace2000000
Theo Fages0000000
Jonny Lomax0000000
Alex Walmsley0000000
James Roby0000000
Matty Lees0000000
Joel Thompson0000000
James Bentley0000000
Sione Mata'utia0000000
Interchanges
Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook0000000
Kyle Amor0000000
Agnatius Paasi0000000
Lewis Dodd0000000
Stats Key
  • TR: Tries
  • RD: Red Cards
  • GL: Goals
  • I+: Interchange On
  • DG: Drop Goals
  • I-: Interchange Off
  • YC: Yellow Cards