St Helens 42-16 Leeds


James Roby suffered a fractured eye socket as Saints ran riot against hapless Leeds.

The England hooker is now almost certain to miss Friday’s clash with the Exiles at Headingley, despite playing on with the injury against out-of-form Leeds.

Saints boss Royce Simmons said: “There’s a fracture there, but we don’t know how bad it is. It’s something Steve McNamara will want to know, I suppose.”

But Jonny Lomax sent McNamara another massive message about his England credentials as seven-try Saints ran riot over hapless Leeds.

The Rhinos appeared well in it when they trailed only 6-4 at half time.

But on this evidence their chances of a top four finish are looking increasingly slim – and Lomax was only too happy to expose their weaknesses.

He set up the decisive try for James Roby just after the restart, then scored Saints’ fourth touchdown by racing on to Francis Meli’s pass.

Lee Gaskell was also impressive, leaving Simmons to reflect: “They’re both young but they do things at speed, and when you do that you’ll worry sides.”

For Leeds, things are worryingly bleak. Rhinos coach Brian McDermott can no longer hide behind an enormous injury list – his starting team was numbered 1 to 13 with the exception of Zak Hardaker – and fans will soon grow impatient with many more displays like this.

They collapsed in awful style during the second half, conceding three tries directly from their own errors.

Meli raced 50 metres directly from Kevin Sinfield’s poorly placed kick, Paul Wellens bundled over after Brent Webb had inexplicably knocked on with nobody near him, and Lee Gaskell finished things off by intercepting Sinfield’s pass for the hosts’ seventh touch down.

McDermott admitted last week that there was a gap between his side and the top four, but he will have been shocked by how toothless Leeds were at crucial times against the team they beat in three successive Grand Finals.

McDermott said: “It’s not happening for us at the moment and we’re in a tough place, but they’re a strong group.”

Two Sinfield penalties had given Leeds an early lead, but Lee Smith’s effort was scratched off by video referee Steve Ganson and Saints never looked back.

Roby’s pass put James Graham over on the half hour, then Lomax offloaded despite being under pressure from Jamie Peacock to send Roby clear early in the second half.

Meli, Lomax, Scott Moore, Paul Wellens and Gaskell completed the rout, with Leeds registering consolating efforts through Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Lee Smith.