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Despite being one of the few sides to have put a speed bump into Saints relentless march to the 2018 minor premiership, few gave the Leeds Rhinos a snowball in hell’s chance of causing an upset and taking the two points as the sides met at Headingley.

An injury list resembling a ‘who’s who’ of Leeds rugby meant that they were missing key playmakers, free scorers and and experience across the park, giving a debut to Tom Holroyd against the best drilled and performing outfit in the league.

But Saints were in no mood to show any sympathy and went into the game hoping to rack up the points against a Leesd side who have thwarted their Grand Final ambitions on so many occasions in the past.

Saints had a Jonny Lomax try turned down on eleven for an obstruction and a minute later the Rhinos made the most of the reprieve when Matt Parcell broke the line and went thirty metres before passing inside to Tom Briscoe who went the last twenty and score under the Regan Grace tackle. Liam Sutcliffe added a simple conversion and the underdoigs were in the lead.

On twenty-three Saints super star Ben Barba weaved his way to the line on the back of a couple of quick penalties. The perennial Man of the Match for Saints in 2018 exposed the Rhinos tacklers to pick up his twentieth league try of the season and give Danny Richardson a simple kick to level the scores at 6-6.

Saints were in front on Thirty-one when Mark Percival was on hand to take the ball after a Lomax break down the left wing to score a simple try from ten metres out. Richardson was unable to convert the try, the lead four points.

Despite Saints pressure in the closing minutes of the half the Rhinos kept Saints at bay and could take great credit for only going in at the interval with a small deficit and still well in the game.

With just three minues on the second half clock Tom Briscoe got his second of the night as the Rhinos kept the ball alive with offloads and Cameron Smith put in a delighful grubber which Briscoe picked up on the bounce and went over. Sutcliffe was unable to add the extras but the game was tied up at 10-10.

Saints were back in the lead of fifty when Percival went over for his second of the night, unopposed, off a clever Barba pass released him for a ten metre run in down the left wing. Richardson converted brilliantly from wide for 16-10.

But three minutes later and the Rhinos were over when Mitch Garbutt crashed over the line on the last tackle, with four Saints defenders attached, after the Rhinos had won the ball after a short restart. Sutcliffe added the conversion and the scores were level again. 

Leeds piled the pressure on Saints and on sixty they got a penalty as St Helens were penalised for not standing square, Sutcliffe kicking the two points to edge the Rhinos ahead.

Leeds had a kickable penalty on sixty-eight and decided to run the ball, but the Saints defence held strong.

On seventy-one the Rhinos scored a delighful try when Brett Ferres was in the right place to both put in a kick and then pick up and juggle an offload from the kick collector, Ash Handley, to ground. Sutcliffe was unable to add the extras, it was 22-16 to Leeds.

On seventy-three it was Saints turn to keep the ball alive and Ryan Morgan crawled his way to the line to ground after collecting a high pass from Percival and ducking under the tacklers. Richardson kicked brilliantly from the touchline for 22-22 to set up a nail-biting last fine minutes.

A seventy-eighth minute Danny Richardson drop goal edged his side into a 23-22 lead and when Cuthbertson dropped the ball inside his own twenty with just seconds on the clock it was game over and a famous Saints win against a dogged and determines Rhinos side who played their hearts out.

Saints were a little under par, but the Rhinos played well above their expectations in a one point defeat. The Rhinos bad run of results continues while Saints maintain their charge at the top of the table, but if Leeds play like this for the rest of the season then they have no fear of dropping into the bottom four.

Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe (2T), Newman, Handley, Hall, Moon, Sutcliffe (3G), Garbutt (T), Parcell, Mullally, Ferres (T), Walters, Cuthbertson.  Subs: Holroyd, Smith, Dwyer, Ormondroyd.

Saints: Barba (T), Makinson, Morgan (T), Percival (2T), Grace, Lomax, Richardson (3G, DG), Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Wilkin.  Subs: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Lees.

Referee: Ben Thaler.

Half-Time: 6-10.

Full-Time: 22-23.

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 15th Jun 2018 9:45 PM | Views : 2882 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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