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Rhinos Blown Away By Harlequins Gale
Posted by southstander on February 25 2011 - 23:31:41

Leeds First
This was the top of the table clash where one teams hearts would be broken.

At the end of the night one of these two sides would be sitting pretty at the top of Superleague with a 100% record and the other had the chance of finishing the weekend outside the top four.

Leeds against the Harlequins and in the minds of the bookies, pundits and the gathered fourteen thousand Leeds fans there could only be one winner.

We bring you all of the action here......

26

Rhinos

v

Harlequins

36

Superleague XVI - Round 3

25th February 2011

Rhinos Blown Away By Harlequins Gale

I could start by mentioning that the Rhinos named a seventeen without the collective talents of McGuire, Peacock, Webb, Ablett and Delaney, but if I did it would be a slight on the way that tonights visitors to Headingley played. The Harlequins came with a game plan, stuck to it while the Rhinos imploded, and went away with a deserved and hard fought two points. Leeds on the other hand were humiliated.

It had all started so well when with just five minutes on the clock we took the lead thanks to a good period of pressure which saw us have three sets in the 'Quins twenty. On the third set Sinfield broke through the defence and passed inside to the supporting Clarkson who scored a simple try. Sinfield added the extras and everything was going according to plan.

But then the Rhinos ripped up the script and as we started to ad-lib it was the 'Quins who started to deliver all the best lines.

On fourteen, and after the Quins had barely had a tackle in the Rhinos half, Jones-Bishop and Smith contrived to give the visitors a levelling score. Taking a high kick Jones-Bishop passed a suicide ball inside to Smith who dropped it backwards under pressure allowing Gale to dribble the ball over the line and score with BJB and Smith just onlookers. Gale added the extras and against the run of play it was all square.


Dropped it
It was surely only a matter of time before we made amends, but it would get worse, much worse.

On twenty-three Leeds were forced to drop out from under their own sticks. Sinfield went for a short one but only Clubb was awake to the play and he caught the ball on the full to walk over with no Leeds tackler in sight. Gale kicked the extras for 6-12 and somehow we'd contrived to go behind despite bossing the game.

We'd never recover.

On thirty we'd been forced to dropout again but this time the skipper kicked it long. It had the same outcome although this time it took five tackles before Ellis went over under a bunch of Leeds players to ground the ball. Gale added the extras for 6-18.

Three minutes before the break and some consolation as Burrow threw the Rhinos a lifeline by dislodging the ball in a strong tackle allowing Hall to pick up and go close. Three tackles later and Sinfield stepped brilliantly to outfox the 'Quins defence and score under the sticks. He converted his own try and we'd got back to a respectable 12-18 at the break.

We neede to cut out the silly errors and break down the Harlequins strong line of defence.

There was an early scare at the start of the second half when Burrow had a pass intercepted and Sinfield had to track back to down the sprinting 'Quins player. It was a try saver and showed the skippers intent to try and make up for a poor first half.

Three minutes later and it looked like an even more important tackle as the Rhinos moved the ball left for Hall to stretch out and touch the ball down on the line. Sinfield missed the conversion from the touchline but we were just two adrift.


Tried hard

The game was now there for the taking and you could almost see the belief draining from the 'Quins players faces.

On the hour mark it was the visitors who again got the upper hand as Purdham crossed at speed from fifteen metres out. Gale kicked the extras again and extended the 'Quins lead to 16-24.

Five minutes later and a rejuvinated Quins scored again, this time through Bailey, as the Leeds defence opened up. Gale kicked again for 16-30 and the game was slipping away.

On seventy-five Ellis got his second next to the posts as Leeds failed to deal with his straight run and the inevitable Gale extras made it 16-36 and a humiliating game-over for the Rhinos players and fans.

Late consolation tries for Lee Smith (right corner) and Jamie Jones-Buchanan (off a short Sinfield pass), only the second of which was converted, gave the scoreline some Rhinos respectability but didn't tell the full story of a game where the visitors brought their 'A' game and the Rhinos let them play it.

This wasn't so much a Rhinos side devoid of ideas as a Rhinos side with way too many ideas, all of which were rubbish. We kicked the ball in daft positions and badly, we threw at least four crazy intercept passes, and we failed to muscle up and tackle hard when we needed to.

This Leeds side is much better than they showed tonight but all credit to the 'Quins who came here with a gameplan, stuck to it, and accepted all the little gifts that the Rhinos offered with open arms.

The only good thing that we can take out of the game is that this is one big reality check. Hopefully we'll take the lesson to the Haliwell-Jones next saturday and show them what we've learnt.


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


Match Facts

Rhinos
Harlequins
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
23
JOnes-Bishop
1
Dorn
2
Smith
1
2
O'Callaghan
19
Watkins
3
Clubb
1
4
Senior
4
Howell
5
Hall
1
5
Melling
13
Sinfield
1
3
7
Randall
7
Burrow
6
Gale
1
5
8
Leuluai
17
Ward
9
Buderus
9
Ellis
2
18
Burgess
10
Wilkes
21
Clarkson
1
13
Purdham
1
14
Lauiti'iti
16
Burnett
11
Jones-Buchanan
1
12
Bailey
1
15
Cross
15
Ambler
17
Kirke
8
Temata
20
Hauraki
31
Pryce
22
Pitts
11
Koupartisas

Kick Off:
20:00
Half-Time:
12-18
Referee:
Ben Thaler
Crowd:
14,315


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