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Twenty-minute Try Fest to the Semi
Posted by southstander on June 04 2006 - 19:43:37

Hat-Trick Hero

With Tony Smith in hospital with gastroenteritis we were relying on the coaching skills of Brian McDermott to negotiate our way safely past the 'Quins and into the Cup Semi-finals. A shock win earlier in the afternoon for Hull KR showed that there there was hope for the underdogs and the Rhinos would need to be on the top of their game to get the result.

The 'Quins were bolstered by the legal inclusion of Henry Paul in their side, and still on the crest of a wave from the win over the Salford Reds six days ago. This wasn't going to be easy.

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

36

Rhinos

v

Harlequins

18

Powergen Challenge Cup

Quarter Final

4th June 2006

Twenty-minute Try Fest to the Semi

Wealding the team selection pen, obviously in consultation with the hospitalised Smith, McDermott relieved both Chris Feather and Ryan Bailey of first team duty, despite both having performed well in the 30-0 win over the Bulls. Ali Lauiti'iti was called into the side, albeit on the bench, as was Mark O'Neill. It was a bench full of forwards, and we were obviously expecting a big battle amongst the big men.

Early exchanges were dominated by defences with the 'Quins having most of the early chances, but the Rhinos defence held firm. Some bizarre refereeing decisions punished both sides as Karl Kirkpatrick made a TV spectacle of himself, and frustrated the home support. On seventeen, Scott Donald was tacked high and held in the tackle, but after protesting to KK he gave a 'Quins penalty. Fortunately, the Rhinos defence kept a gilt edged 'Quins chance at bay. On twenty-seven, JJB knocked on under pressure when over the 'Quins line, and the video referee ruled the try out.

As the half hour approached there was an increasing sense of nervousness in the SouthStand, was this going to be one of those afternoons? We only had to wait two minutes for an answer.

On thirty-two the Rhinos elected to tap a penalty, given for lying on Rob Burrow. We tested left, and then right before moving the ball to the left again and a Sinfield pass enable Poching to run through three attempted tackles to score. Sinfield goaled and the deadlock was finally broken. Three minutes later and we were in again. Good strong runs by Peacock and O'Neill made good metres before Burrow ran the angle left and put in a pass which hit Williams at speed to go over in the corner. Sinfield converted once more and a twelve-nil lead at half-time was a lot more than we'd expected on ten minutes.

We just needed to kick-on in the second half and safe passage was ours.

The opening ten minutes of the second half did nothing to settle the Rhinos nerves as good play from the 'Quins got them right back in it.

On forty-two, the 'Quins ended the Rhinos herculean defensive effort as they scored the first points against us for 205 minutes (three hours and twenty-five minutes) when Dorn made the most of a big gap left by Chev Walker to score in the corner. Purdham missed the conversion.

On fifty-one a London kick, on the last, was knocked backwards by Bradley-Qualilawa for Worrincey to collect and dive over. The Purdham conversion gave us 12-10 and once again it was 'game on!'.


Two Corkers

There were twenty-two minutes remaining when the game moved into overdrive. We would see thirty-two points scored in a frenzied period of rugby, and it was the Rhinos who started the onslaught.

On fifty-eight the Rhinos took a tap penalty rather than going for the two and it paid dividends. The ball was moved right and Ali and Burrow combined to put a diving Donald over in the corner. Sinfield fialed to convert but we had a 16-10 margin.Straight from the kick-off we returned the ball with interest. A sensational offload by Keith Senior bought an overlap as the ball was moved right for Ali to run the angle, feed Donald, who made twenty metres before flinging the ball inside for McGuire to go thirty metres to score under the sticks. Sinfield converted for 22-10 and the relief was tangible.

Once again, the Rhinos returned the kick-off for another score. Once again Ali Lauiti'iti was the inspiration as a superb back-door pass to Walker allowed the departing centre to break before using Millard, McGuire and Senior putting Williams over for his second. Sinfield goaled from the touchline for 28-10, the semi-final beckoned.


The Difference
On sixty-seven, and again directly from the kick-off, the Rhinos punished the Broncos for not having touched the ball for nine minutes.

Lauiti'iti was again the inspiration. This time he went through a gap and used Millard to put Williams over for his second. Sinfield missed but the damage was done and it would be the Rhinos who were in the hat for tuesday mornings draw (live on BBC Breakfast at 7:30).

The Rhinos then eased off and let the Broncos in for two soft tries which will not have pleased the watching Smith from his Huddersfield hospital bed.

On seventy-four Weisner went over for a scrappy try after Williams elected to tackle the catcher rather than try and take the high ball himself. Purdham sliced the kick wide as he did two minutes later when he had provided the last pass to Smith who ran straight through a defensively weak Williams to score in the corner.

The last scoring action of the game was Williams hat-trick after he had chased a long speculative Burrow kick down the touchline and hacked it forward before being bundled over by the 'Quins defenders. The ball went to ground and the supplorting Senior picked it up and flipped it back to Williams who stretched over with a tackler attached to score. Burrow missed the conversion but it was 36-18 and the Rhinos were safely through to the final.

This was no means a classic Rhinos performance, in factm we only performed in the last ten minutes of the first half, and for a ten minute period in the seocond. In that time we were devastating enough to bury a plucky performance from the Londoners and secure our passage, hopefully to another Challenge Cup Final.

If you are looking for a man of the match, look no further than Ali Lauiti'iti who turned the game when he entered the field for the first time in the fiftieth minute. We looked a different side with him on the pitch, and if he was trying to prove a point, I think he achieved his objective. The real disppointment was in the defence which shipped in four tries, most of which were very, very, soft. I guess it gives the lads something to work on before the visit of the Warriors next friday.

Oh, and was that crowd figure one for the tax man? I'd have guessed that there were in excess of seven thousand in today.


Man of the Match Poll

Points
Player%
Lauiti'iti31%
Donald20%
Peacock19%
Williams15%
Burrow12%
Sinfield3%

See here for season standings.


Match Facts

Rhinos
Harlequins
No.
Player
T
G
DG
No.
Player
T
G
DG
5
Smith
1
McLinden
2
Donald
2
4
Smith
1
3
Walker
25
Luisi
4
Senior
13
Purdham
1
26
Williams
3
5
Bradley-Qalilawa
6
McGuire
1
27
Paul
7
Burrow
6
Dorn
1
18
Jones-Buchanan
17
Tookey
9
Diskin
23
Randall
20
Scruton
20
Lolohea
10
Peacock
12
Hopkins
12
Ellis
11
Haumono
13
Sinfield
4
16
Mbu
14
Millard
14
Williams
11
Lauiti'iti
24
Weisner
1
17
O'Neill
15
Mills
16
Poching
1
28
Worrincey
1

Kick Off:
16:05
Half-Time:
12-00
Referee:
Karl Kirpatrick
Crowd:
5,332


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