Challenge Cup: Leigh 12 Leeds 60
Kevin Sinfield collected 28 points, including two tries, as his side booked their place in the semi finals for the 16th time in 20 years.by NRL
Kevin Sinfield collected 28 points, including two tries, as his side booked their place in the semi finals for the 16th time in 20 years.
The Rhinos travelled to the Leigh Sports Village for the first time as they faced Leigh Centurions in the Quarter Final of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.
Leeds welcomed back Rob Burrow and Weller Hauraki after injury lay offs however Kallum Watkins was not risked as he returns to full fitness from a knee injury.
The Rhinos expected a tough battle from Leigh in front of their own fans and they got just that in the opening exchanges as Rob Parker led the charge for the Centurions with some storming runs. However, Leeds settled their nerves with a well worked score. Sinfield kicked across field and Lee Smith judged the bounce excellently to regather and pass back inside to McGuire to score.
Leigh levelled the game two minutes later as Goulden powered his way over from close range and Ridyard converted to give the home fans something to shout about.
The Centurions had their tails up and the Rhinos had to produce two strong defensive sets to quell their momentum. They got their reward soon after when Brent Webb chased Sinfield's high bomb and was fastest to react when Greg McNally allowed the ball to bounce and the Leeds man pounced to score. Sinfield converted both Leeds tries to make it 12-0 after 24 minutes.
Richard Moore and Ryan Bailey both produced strong performances off the bench and the latter produced a powerful drive to set up the position for the third try. He sent defenders scattering and the ball was moved quickly along the back line for Ben Jones-Bishop to touch down in the corner.
Leeds increased their lead with four minutes to go in the half when Ryan Hall finished off a strong passage of play when McGuire threw a fast, wide pass for the England man to touch down. Once again Sinfield was on target to make it 24-6.
There was drama at the end of the half when Greg McNally latched onto a spilled ball by Leeds and looked certain to score only for a fantastic cover tackle from Jones-Bishop and Zak Hardaker dislodged the ball and denied him the score.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first half with Leigh throwing everything at Leeds. However, once again the Rhinos managed to quell the storm and then crossed for a try through Rob Burrow on his return to action. He picked up the ball from dummy half 15 metres out and ducked under two would be tackles before touching down.
McGuire and Burrow then combined excellently to put Shaun Lunt over for his third try in four appearances for the club before Kevin Sinfield crossed for his first try in a Challenge Cup Quarter Final since 1999 against Widnes. Sinfield converted all three tries to put his side into a commanding 36-6 lead after 56 minutes.
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Leigh's second try when McNally got a well deserved try just after the hour mark, Ridyard adding the conversion.
Bailey once again got the Rhinos going forward as he swatted off Leigh defenders as he powered towards the line. Once again quick hands undid the over-committed defence and Lee Smith was the beneficiary as he touched down out wide.
Sinfield then crossed for his second try when he chipped over for Ben Jones-Bishop to collect who then passed back inside to Weller Hauraki. He looked certain to score but unselfishly passed back inside for his skipper to score.
With the final play of the game, Ryan Hall intercepted a pass five metres from his own line and raced the length of the field to score. Sinfield had a perfect night of ten goals from ten attempts to take his career total for Leeds to 2,999 points and book his side's progress to the final four in the Carnegie Challenge Cup.
T: Gregg McNally, Tommy Goulden
G: Martin Ridyard 2
T: Rob Burrow 2, Ryan Hall 2, Kevin Sinfield 2, Danny McGuire, Lee Smith, Brent Webb, Ben Jones-Bishop
G: Kevin Sinfield 10
Follow rleague.com on Facebook
View profile pages including statistics, results, news, photos and more on all of the following...