Leeds too strong for Leigh

Leeds booked their place in the last four of the Challenge Cup with a 10-try win over Championship side Leigh.

Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield scored two tries and kicked 10 from 10 to move his side within 80 minutes of a third successive visit to Wembley.

Paul Rowley’s side were a match for the World Champions for the first 20 minutes, but, despite their best efforts, were simply outclassed after that, as the Rhinos racked up 60 points.

Leigh will have been encouraged by the start, as both they and Leeds exchanged a couple of completed sets each, and the Centurions earned the first real field position of the game through the game’s first penalty.

They failed to convert, and were made to pay minutes later when despite being in their own half on the last tackle, Leeds executed a fine play, Lee Smith scooping up Kevin Sinfield‘s kick over the top, before feeding the supporting Danny McGuire to take the ball under the posts.

Any predictions that Leigh would subsequently roll over were proven wrong when they hit back with a try of their own. The ball was kept alive down the right and the excellent Bob Beswick found Tommy Goulden, who carried two men over the line with him.

A mistake by full back Gregg McNally, who allowed a high kick to bounce, was punished by Brent Webb, and the Kiwi then fed Ben Jones-Bishop for Leeds’ third try.

It was that try, after 12 scoreless minutes, that seemed to break the game, and Ryan Hall added one shortly after to send Leeds in at 24-6.

Rob Burrow ducked his way through the Leigh defence to register the first score of the second half after eight minutes, and that was followed by a quick fire double from Shaun Lunt and Sinfield.

Leigh briefly rallied as McNally collected his own kick to score, before Rob Parker was denied a score moments later.

Webb’s break down the left got the Rhinos on the front foot again, and they spread the ball wide right for Lee Smith to score in the corner, and they found more luck down the right two minutes later when Weller Hauraki broke and put Sinfield in for his second try.

As Leigh finished the game with a flurry, looking for the final say that their efforts deserved, England winger Hall poached an interception and raced the full length of the field, to tee up Sinfield for his perfect 10.

Leigh: McNally, Maden, Littler, Gardner, Pownall, Ridyard, Beswick, Parker, Nicholson, Ostick, Laithwaite, Goulden, Nash. Subs: Gallagher, Briscoe, Brierley, Hopkins.

Leeds: Webb, Jones-Bishop, Smith, Hardaker, Hall, Sinfield, McGuire, Leuluai, Burrow, Kirke, Jones-Buchanan, Hauraki, Clarkson. Subs: McShane, Bailey, Moore, Lunt.

Half Time: 6-24

Attendance: 5290

Referee: Ben Thaler


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