Castleford 6-60 Leeds: Luke Gale inspires Rhinos to huge win


Luke Gale is back for Leeds

Leeds skipper Luke Gale led the torment of his old club as the Rhinos discovered their best form of the season to rout Castleford 60-6.

Gale, returning to the Jungle for the first time since his move to Leeds at the end of the 2019 season, was at the heart of a sparkling 11-try performance against an abject Tigers team.

The Rhinos had scored 90 points in their first seven games of the season but struck 32 before half-time and 17-year-old forward Morgan Gannon helped bring up the half-century with his first try for the club on 68 minutes.

By then the home fans among the 4,000 crowd had begun heading for the exits, disgusted by the woeful efforts of their team.

Castleford began the season with three straight wins but will go into next Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington on the back of three successive defeats.

They had prop Liam Watts back from a two-match ban but were without Jake Trueman, Oliver Holmes and captain Michael Shenton and with winger Greg Eden at full-back in the absence of both Niall Evalds and Gareth O’Brien.

Eden was withdrawn midway through the first half with his side trailing 16-6 and scrum-half Danny Richardson was also substituted six minutes before half-time, when the Tigers had slipped further behind at 32-6.

Yet it began so promisingly for the home side when stand-off Jordan Turner went past a wrong-footed Konrad Hurrell to score the opening try after only two minutes and Richardson added the conversion to put them into a 6-0 lead.

Jordan Turner scored Castleford’s only try of the match

That was as good as it got for Castleford, however, as Gale and full-back Richie Myler began to run the show.

Myler supplied the final passes for two tries in six minutes for Tom Briscoe, a superb makeshift centre, and left winger Jack Broadbent, who was replacement for the injured Ash Handley.

Right winger Luke Briscoe and second-rower Alex Mellor both went close as the Rhinos maintained the pressure and it told on 19 minutes when prop Matt Prior offloaded from the tackle to get hooker Kruise Leeming over for the first of his two tries.

Leeds, whose penchant for ball-stealing helped them to dominate possession, found more joy on the Castleford right edge when Tom Briscoe got Myler over for their fourth try on 24 minutes.

And the procession continued as Rhyse Martin’s long pass got Luke Briscoe over in the other corner and Leeming finished off a break by Broadbent for his second try, with Martin kicking his fourth conversion.

Castleford’s humiliation continued in the second half as burly Leeds centre Hurrell chipped the ball over their defence and easily won the race to touch down for his side’s seventh try.

Konrad Hurrell got on the scoresheet for the Rhinos

Tigers coach Daryl Powell was forced into another reshuffle when winger James Clare went off for a head injury assessment, which saw hooker Paul McShane moved from half-back to the flank.

Leeds were unable to maintain the free-flowing rugby from the first half but still managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over as replacement hooker Brad Dwyer forced his way over dummy half and Gannon pounced on a loose ball for his first try in senior rugby.

Myler fed Tom Briscoe for his second try and Hurrell broke clear to get Gale over the Rhinos’ 11th try and Martin took his goal tally to eight.

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