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Rhinos Lose Out in French Farce
Posted by southstander on July 12 2005 - 11:08:50

We went...we saw...we lost!

What a fantastic weekend, spoiled only by the loss to the Broncos at the Stade Aime Giral in Perpignan. It was a result which many will not remember too well, after the heady mix of sunshine and alcohol! I tried to keep a clear head (sort of) to bring you the facts.

It wasn't just the supporters who got into the party spirit as the Rhinos players gifted the game to the 'home' side.

24

Rhinos

v

Broncos

32

Superleague X

9th July 2005

Rhinos Lose Out in French Farce

Rea shuffled his squad somewhat from the team which lost to the Rhinos in the Challenge Cup Quarters a couple of weeks ago, and will have been relieved to welcome back McLinden, who started the game at full-back. Leeds were without inspirational skipped Kevin Sinfield who will miss the next four rounds, but bolstered by the inclusion of Matt Diskin in the seventeen for the first time since the Grand Final. This was a game that the Rhinos should win, but it wa likely to be the closest encounter between the sides so far this season.

Conditions in Perpignan were good. The heat had died away by kick-off to give a very pleasant evening and the pitch looked in good condition and showed no scars from the earlier French Cup game. Around 2,000 Rhinos fans and 500 from the capital joined a good local contingent and created a fantastic atmosphere. The Rhinos received the kick-off defending the end occupied by their support.

The Rhinos came close to opening the scoring after just two minutes when a fantastic break from Calderwood down the left wing saw an even better tackle by McLinden haul him into touch. It was brief respite as on six minutes the Rhinos did open the scoring.

McGuire and Mathers combined to release Senior down the left wing who went for the corner and then threw the ball inside to the supporting Bai to cross and improve the angle. Burrows goal gave us 6-0.

On sixteen, Bai diffused a bomb close to his line and flung a dangerous pass inside to Mathers who stepped through three attempted tackles and outpaces McLinden to score. Burrow failed to convert from wide, but the crowd were buzzing at Mathers 80m effort. The party was in full swing.

It looked like it might be another glorious night for the Rhinos.


Missed Kicks

Two minutes later and we were over again. McKenna put in a great running effort before Ellis took up the charge. Dunemann was in suport and then he found McGuire outside to cross. Burrow converted this time for 16-0, it looked like a rout was on the cards.

But the Broncos fought back. On twenty-four the Rhinos defence were found missing as a kick through was collected by Bradley-Qalilawa who went over with the nearest Rhinos player ten metres away. Sykes failed to convert from out wide. The broncos went close again on the half hour mark but a sensational chase and tackle by Calderwood saved the day. The Broncos were not in the mood to capitulate.

Leeds needed to step up a gear and on thirty-two they did with a Burrow 40-20 (more like a 40-2), the rarest of Rhinos treats! From the reulting scrum McGuire darted right and put Calderwood over for the try. Burrow hit the post from wide.

WIth four minutes left to the break the Rhinos were deep in the Broncos twenty when McGuire threw an interception pass to Leuleuai who went 80m to score in the corner, just avoiding a diagonal run from right wing to left defence from Mark Calderwood. Perhaps Calders is trying to emphasise his worth!

Sykes missed the conversion and the sides went into the changing rooms to rapturous applause with the score at 20-8.


Not 100%
The second half got off to a slow start. On fifty-one, Burrow put in a try saving tackle on O'Halloran, dragging him into touch and four minutes later a McGuier kick and catch, back off a Broncos player, allowed him to pass left for Senior to cross on the overlap. Burrow missed, but at 24-8 the Rhinos were in full control. The party started on the terraces as a collective of Elvi (the plural of Elvis), onion sellers and the 'GIRAFFE' gang started a conga!

We couldn't let this slip...could we?

The lads must have seen our celebration and though that the match was 'in the bag', either that or the Broncos players decided to prove us wrong!

On sixty mintutes, good passing and offloading saw Dorn cross and Sykes added the conversion for 24-14.

Three minutes later and a big gap on the Leeds left allowed O'Halloran to go over in the corner. Sykes converted brilliantly from the touchline for 24-20, and the Leeds players started to look jaded. On sixty-eight, the Broncos hit the front. A Leeds hand was hit by a kick to touch and the Broncos got head and feed. As London moved the ball right, Bradley-Qalilawa improved the angle and collected his second. The conversion made it 24-26 and the Broncos had an incredible comeback.

Leeds battled for ten minutes to get another score on the board, but the London defence was resolute. On seventy-eight Leuleui crashed over next to the posts for his second and the Syjkes conversion seasled a 32-24 win for the Broncos.

This was a result that the Broncos have has coming for a few weeks but it still stings a bit. The Broncos played brilliantly in the second half, but the Rhinos went off the boil and seemed to lack concentration and leadership. Perhaps it was all too different for our lads, perhaps we were missing captain Kev, or perhaps this was a game that the Broncos were more desperate to win.

It opens up the table completely now and the Rhinos will need to win every game to the end of the regular season to retain the minor premiership. The rest of the season starts on friday with Salford. A draw away to London last year acted as the impetus for a great run-in, let's hope that it does the same again this year!


Please vote for your Man of the Match in the front page poll.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Broncos
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
1
Mathers
1
6
McLinden
2
Calderwood
1
4
0'Halloran
1
3
Walker
24
Smith
4
Senior
1
1
Sykes
4
5
Bai
1
3
Bradley-Qalilawa
2
6
McGuire
1
21
Dorn
1
7
Burrow
2
7
Leuluai
2
8
Bailey
10
Trindall
14
Dunemann
19
Highton
15
Ward
18
Armour/font>
18
Jones-Buchanan
11
Hammond
12
McKenna
12
Hopkins
20
Ellis
13
Purdham
10
McDermott
20
HLolohea
11
Lauiti'iti
17
Tookey
9
Diskin
30
Mateu
16
Poching
16
Mbu

Kick Off:
19:05 (Local Time)
Half-Time:
20-08
Attendance:
7,000 (approx)
Referee:
Ashley Klein


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